Editorial: We’re still waiting

Does it really need to take this long?

It’s been nearly six years since, speaking at a Kelowna rally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would rather see cannabis legalized instead of just decriminalized.

Back then he was just plain old Justin, on the campaign trail trying to garner votes and reinvigorate the federal Liberal party. Two years later, the Liberals cruised back to power on that promise and others.

The Liberals defaulted on their promise to reform the electoral system, and you have to wonder if the promise of legal recreational cannabis is going to be substantially complete before the next federal election, this fall.

It’s not entirely the Liberals’ fault that we’ve yet to see a thriving cannabis industry. Though it took three years— three months later than the July 1, 2018 date first promised — they did deliver on the legislation last October.

But even though they had those three years, provincial and local governments didn’t really get started on their own legislation until, effectively, the last minute.

So far, relatively few cannabis retailers have been able to open across Canada. Notably, the first to open in B.C. was a provincial government-operated store in Kamloops. Terrace’s first recreational cannabis store opened its doors to eager customers mere days ago on June 19. But most of the many applications from hopeful private retailers in the Okanagan and around the province are still waiting for the dual approval they need from the province and their municipal government.

It’s not that getting a licence to sell cannabis should be easy. It shouldn’t, and there are countless obstacles and social issues that need to be dealt with.

But with three years warning, there is little excuse for the provincial government not to have been better prepared to resolve those problems and implement legalization, which was a popular idea long before the Liberals decided to run with it.

After all, cannabis has been effectively legal for a long time. It’s just that all the money generated by the industry was going into the pockets of criminals instead of generating taxes.

Governments should have had frameworks, laws and bylaws ready to go by the time legalization legislation dropped, only needing fine tuning to match the fed’s ideas.

By now, most of the applications should have been either approved or denied, with private operators starting to add to local and provincial economies, and driving the black market farther underground.

You would think governments didn’t want the tax money that cannabis retail stores are going to generate.

Just Posted

Stewart RCMP welcomes new detachment commander

Corporal Derek Rondeau was named police officer of the year in PG

Skeena Métis Association encouraging Northwest B.C. Métis families to self-identify

Out of 5,760 students in SD82, only six are recognized at Métis, association says

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Prince Rupert RCMP seeks public assistance in locating missing male

Melvin Stanley Young was last seen on Nov. 13

Terrace Little Theatre’s fall play tackles climate change anxiety

Production of playwright Alena Smith’s “Icebergs” opens Nov. 15

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read