Federal Liberals unveil new marijuana legislation

The Trudeau government says its rollout of proposed legalized marijuana legislation is designed to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors.

The new law would allow adults, 18-years of age and older, to legally buy and cultivate small amounts of marijuana for personal use. 

It would also hand over to the provinces, territories, and municipalities the right to set their own distribution rules and this has producers, and medical marijuana shop owners, expecting a patchwork of regulations. 

The City of Kelowna this week made adjustments to its zoning bylaws, which officially bar commercial businesses like retail stores, pharmacies, and medical clinics from selling marijuana.

In the future, the city says there could be other changes - special zoning permits for marijuana shops - and keeping the shops away from main streets like Bernard and Pandosy. 

Mark Conlin, spokesperson for medical marijuana dispensary Starbuds, which is located on Pandosy Street, says he intends to make it clear to council - there's a big difference between his shop and a recreational marijuana store.

"It'd be like sending them to a liquor store to get their prescription filled," says Conlin "Most of the dispensaries that we have in our area are all medical dispensaries. Nobody's going to get a non-psychoactive suppository and use that to treat their Crohn's disease for fun."

And Conlin says that's exactly what a recreational dispensary is all about - fun. "People are going there to buy party stuff. We carry a wide line of products that are geared just towards people with illnesses."    

Conlin says it would be a huge disservice to his patients if his dispensary was forced to relocate from downtown Kelowna.

Starbuds also has a location in West Kelowna and four more throughout BC.