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Federal health minister expressing concern over Vancouver's plans to regulate pot shops

Last Updated Aug 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm PDT

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Summary

Rona Ambose says the city proposal to zone the pot shops only legitimizes the sale and use of marijuana.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Canada’s health minister says she’s unhappy with the City of Vancouver’s plans to regulate its flourishing medical marijuana industry.

A letter sent to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson from Rona Ambose says the city proposal to zone the pot shops only legitimizes the sale and use of marijuana.

Vancouver staff will present a report to council next week recommending regulating the booming medical pot industry with rules that include a $30,000 licensing fee and that the shops be at least 300 metres from schools and community centres.

The Ambrose letter says that while the Canadian courts have required the government to allow access to medical marijuana, that has to be done in a controlled fashion.

There are now about 80 unregulated shops in the city, and Councillor Kerry Jang says they had to step in when the federal government didn’t act on changes to medical marijuana laws.

Jang says current laws that prevent people from growing their own marijuana make it difficult for patients to access medicine and have created public health and safety issues in Vancouver.