The Federal and provincial governments are about to legalize Marijuana so that requires the City of Richmond to deal with the issue.
While the City of Richmond is forced to create rules for the sale of marijuana and for the growth of Marijuana, we do have the ability to limit production and sales through zoning. Richmond has some of the best soil for growing food in Canada so it is our opinion that it should be used to grow food. Marijuana production can and should be done in industrial warehouses where security can be optimal. City of Richmond council has asked the provincial government not to allow cement floor greenhouses on farm land for marijuana growth and RITE Richmond supports soil based greenhouses to protect the rich quality of the farm land.
While the Province will ultimately decide when and where marijuana is grown the city can choose to have bylaws regarding the location and number of marijuana store. The city cannot control online sales of Marijuana.
When the City of Richmond was deciding how to best handle private liquor stores the council decided to limit the amount of stores by not allowing the stores within a certain distance of each other and not near a school, park or playground.
Rite Richmond thinks that that limiting the location of marijuana stores will be as effective as limiting the location of private liquor stores, the products will still be available but not so common that it creates a glut of stores.
RITE members understand that, Cannabis use is not benign especially for youth and we need targeted education and awareness about cannabis use directed at youth and families. We would like the city to take a public health approach to cannabis legalization. We feel that the city can mitigate negative impacts of cannabis retail shops by regulating the number of shops and their location. The city can also mandate standardized labelling of products (including edibles) and only give a city license to the retail stores if they are staffed by trained and licensed staff. Medical cannabis should be sold through doctors and pharmacies.
RITE members think that how we set up the zoning and bylaws is critical to harm reduction. However, these regulations can be changed as we better understand the ramifications of marijuana sales in Richmond. RITE will continue to advocate for data and research based decisions in all issues related to the legalization of Marijuana.
RITE Richmond (Carol Day, Niti Sharma, Michael Wolfe, Henry Yao)