B.C. municipalities vote to have power over pot shops despite federal stance

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VANCOUVER — Local governments in British Columbia have declared they have the authority to licence medical marijuana dispensaries, defying the federal government’s opposition to any regulation of the illegal stores.

Delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities voted strongly in favour of a resolution to endorse the position that they have the power to regulate dispensaries.

The resolution says that an ongoing court challenge of Ottawa’s medical marijuana laws has created uncertainty while pot shops proliferate and cause problems in B.C.

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Maple Ridge Coun. Corisa Bell says the rapid growth of the stores has had a negative economic impact but they could contribute to local economies with proper regulation.

Vancouver recently became the first city in Canada to regulate its 100 marijuana shops, imposing a $30,000 licence fee and requiring them to locate 300 metres from schools, community centres and each other.

Selling pot over the counter is illegal in Canada, and the federal government recently sent letters to 13 dispensaries warning of RCMP raids if they did not shut down.

The Canadian Press

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