Mayor Ross Forrest talks about impact of impending pot legalization on Lake Cowichan. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

VIDEO: It’s time to talk seriously about pot in Lake Cowichan: mayor

Impending legislation is putting a sharp end on what have been more casual discussions

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest told his colleagues recently that they need to start to plan now for federal cannabis legislation coming down this summer.

“There will be big changes and some serious thinking needs to get underway immediately,” he told his colleagues (and the town) in his monthly report for February.

“Our municipality is going to be extremely challenged by the introduction of legalized cannabis to our community. It’s going to be important to stay informed about what is happening federally and provincially and The Cannabis Quandary offers some sound advice about some steps that local governments can take to be as prepared as possible for the new legislation about cannabis.

The Cannabis Quandary is a report published by The Local Government Management Association of British Columbia that talks all things marijuana relevant to local governments.

“The planning component is essential as every community likely has distinct priorities about how they want retail cannabis sales to be managed as well as where they want to restrict its use. It will be interesting to see how the financial model is managed as there will be significant cost involved in managing the regulatory requirements at the local level.

“There will be a lot of talk about how local and provincial governments will control, restrict, licence, zone, and manage the effects of this new legislation affecting cannabis. We will have to focus on education. We must address how the impending legislation will impact our community’s operation as we have but a short window of opportunity to address some key areas for zoning, licensing, and enforcement before legislation of cannabis becomes law. We have to make sure that when we do have legalized recreational marijuana that it’s handled in a responsible manner. Discussion should start now to get a sense of what our community wants to accomplish now and in the future in terms of how the cannabis industry is to be managed,” he said.

Lake Cowichan councillors will be addressing these questions at upcoming meetings.

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