FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Directors of the Peace River Regional District Board shared their concerns with Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer and local MLA’s Dan Davies and Mike Bernier regarding the legislation to legalize cannabis that is set to go into effect on July 1st next year.
Director Lori Ackerman told the group, who were making a joint presentation to the Board about their activities in the past year, that she is concerned about the short timeline between when rules around the use of cannabis are announced and when they go into effect. Ackerman said her main concern is that municipalities will be left “holding the bag” in a scramble to ensure that local bylaws regarding cannabis sales are in accordance with federal and provincial laws.
Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier told the Board that the best way to have concerns heard is to write letters to the provincial government, saying, “You’re not going be in a position as a municipality to say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but you will be in a position to say how.”
Ackerman also stressed the importance of police being able to determine whether or not a motorist is impaired by consuming cannabis. Zimmer replied that at this point, no standardized way of testing for cannabis impairment is available, and said that he argued against the legislation because of the lack of impairment test for cannabis that will stand up in court.
Area ‘C’ Director and Board Chair Brad Sterling echoed the concerns, especially the uncertainty over how municipalities will be implementing rules announced by both higher levels of government. “We’re the bottom of the food chain when it comes to that,” said Sperling. “We’re sitting here wondering what is going to happen? What’s going on? We have no way of making any kind of comment or decision.”