Let's Talk Marijuana - Vancouver Dispensary Hearings

We’ve come a long way. Marijuana policy is changing all over the world, and we have an important opportunity to advocate for sensible marijuana regulations starting June 10th in Vancouver. If you want to include yourself in the leading edge of change, sign up for the public hearings right here!

Vancouver has been a leader in drug policy in Canada. In 2001, Vancouver City Council adopted some of the most progressive policies in the world — The Four Pillars Drug Strategy. In 2003, Canada’s first safe injection site opened up in the Downtown Eastside. Vancouver is responding to the health and cultural needs of it’s citizens — and this helps create the context for a new framework for the regulation and sale of marijuana in Canada.
This is where your voice really matters. Of course it’s important for us as an organization to advocate for change, but what really makes a difference is citizens showing up at public meetings and sharing their story.
So, we ask you: what do you think a regulated marijuana dispensary system should look like? What are the benefits to having access to dispensaries in your life? What are some of the challenges to the legislation as it is proposed? Do you have any questions you would like to have answered? Municipalities across BC are all looking at the regulations that Vancouver is debating — and this is your chance to have influence over what a legal and regulated system might look like for communities.

Dana Larsen from Sensible BC and Jamie Shaw from CAMCD took the time to record some audio segments that helps put Vancouver's new regulations in context, to give participants the opportunity to think through the new regulations and prepare their presentations for council. Have a listen below!

To be clear, Vancouver does not have the power to legalize the sale of marijuana — but it does have the authority to make land use decisions, and give licences to businesses to operate within city limits. Changes to land use and zoning require a public hearing, and gives citizens the chance to weigh in.

Here are some of our key concerns about the legislation:

  • The zoning boundaries are prohibitive: many dispensaries would have to close
  • Based on the zoning, the downtown eastside would not have access to local dispensaries, which is at odds with the City’s commitment to harm reduction
  • A ban on edibles, restricting access to patients who prefer their medicine as food rather than smoking
  • A new $35,000+ annual fee for dispensaries

We’ve also put together a brief giving you a bit more detail, and if you really want to go deep, you can read the full proposed regulations straight from the City of Vancouver

Public hearings start on June 10th, and will last as long as there are citizens who want to speak. We are encouraging as many marijuana advocates as possible to show up and add your voice to the democratic process.

So whether you use marijuana as medicine, are a marijuana advocate, or simply see the harms of prohibition and want to see this historic change, sign up today for the hearings to have your say. It's time for sensible change!