Participants in the cannabis legalization forum held in Kelowna today included (from left) Kevin Poole, manager of economic development and tourism for City of Vernon; Dan Rogers, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce executive director; and David Purcell, director of emerging business for Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Photo: Barry Gerding/Capital News

Legalizing cannabis a monumental shift

Tourism and business leaders need regulatory direction

The process of making pot-production and sales a legitimate industry can best be described as “hurry up and wait,” said the City of Vernon manager of economic development and tourism.

Kevin Poole says the regulatory framework for a legalized cannabis industry being developed by federal and provincial governments has raised many cost issues for their civic counterparts, and has raised questions ranging from how to train and educate the industry workforce to tourism marketing opportunities.

“This industry will be about creating partnerships and right now the provincial government is a bit slow out of the gate on developing a framework for how this is going to unfold,” Poole said.

Related: Canadians favour marijuana legalization

Poole was one of the featured speakers at a forum held in Kelowna today, organized by the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education.

Poole said he receives an email inquiry almost daily about opening a dispensary, something his city council has put on hold until the regulatory framework is finalized.

“I just have to keep telling people we are not there yet,” Poole said.

Some regulatory and financial decisions have been made. Health Canada has developed regulations on the production side and public safety education initiatives to deal with legalize marijuana, and has agreed to a 70-30 split with the provinces and territories on marijuana tax revenue sharing, said Mike McGuire, director of operations for Health Canada cannabis legalization and regulation branch.

Access will be restricted from youths under the age 18, although some provinces have raised that age to 19, and legal possession will be defined as 30 grams for an individual and up to four plants in a residence.

He said policy on edibles and public consumption is expected to formulated over the next year.

Adoption of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is now before both the House of Commons and the Senate, McGuire said, with a vote in Parliament expected on June 7.

At the provincial level, a joint committee has been established to address provincial and municipal issues related to legalizing pot, most notably starting with how much of the province’s 70 per cent revenue share will be shared at the civic government level.

The province has already indicated a hybrid system where government and private sector dispensaries will be allowed to operate, with the government controlling the provincial distribution of marijuana similar to how it currently controls liquor distribution.

All this leaves tourism and education boosters developing new ideas on how to address pot-industry labour needs and entrepreneur demands.

For example, said Poole, the idea of starting pot production tours similar to wine tours commonly is raised, but that will depend on the legislative limitations of possession and use in public.

“What I have noticed from legalizing in Colorado is it is legal to sell within their state, but it is still federally illegal in the U.S., so they can do little to promote the industry beyond their own border. They can’t do a thing with it,” Poole said.

In Canada, he said legalizing cannabis across the country will remove the marketing ability.

“Once all the rules are in place, you will see the entrepreneurs figure it out and develop new business off-shoot ideas,” Poole said.

Related: Kelowna woman cooks up winning recipe

David Purcell, emerging business director for Kwantlen Polytechnic University, said legalizing marijuana is expected to create an industry employing from 50,000 to 150,000 across Canada.

Purcell said that creates challenges in providing an adequate certified labour force to meet that job demand on both the production and retail side, as well as educating people about the fact-based realities of cannabis use.

He said Kwantlen is at the forefront of developing courses related to the industry and is looking to continue expanding on that curriculum, at one point seeing creation of a diploma or degree program on cannabis.

“We are looking to create evidence-based education initiatives that can help correct the false perceptions and inaccurate stereotypes so the public can feel more comfortable in the legalized cannabis world,” he said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke School Board seeking realtor for Big Eddy property

The Board of Education is seeking a realtor to sell seven building… Continue reading

B.C. Land Matching program to connect landowners and farmers looking to lease

Hailey Troock is the land matcher for the Columbia Basin

Revelstoke donated time, money and food in annual Emergency Services Food Drive

Over 300 volunteers got together last week for the annual Emergency Services… Continue reading

Revelstoke city council brings forward proposed cannabis framework

Four bylaws amended that will allow retail sales and production in the city

LUNA Q&A: Revelstokian Nicolas Houle painting herons

See everyday spaces transformed in the night at the second annual LUNA… Continue reading

Weekday weather update

A look at your Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather for Sept. 24

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

The letter has been met with condemnation of the racism after Winnie Wu posted it online

Pawsitive response by B.C. community for 60-plus surrendered cats

Community comes together to help surrendered cats at Penticton SPCA

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Andrew Weaver congratulates New Brunswick on electing first Green caucus

Election win means there are now three provincial Green Party caucuses in Canada

Around the BCHL: Merritt’s Matthew Kopperud nets Sun Devil scholarship

Around the BCHL is a look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Most Read