Victoria drafting bylaw to allow edible pot products

Victoria councillors prepare to vote on a new bylaw that would allow edible pot products in medical marijuana dispensaries, despite health and safety concerns raised by the province's medical health officer.

Mayor says council heard from many seniors who suffer from chronic pain

The City of Vancouver banned the sale of edible marijuana products, with the exception of edible oils, which would include tinctures and capsules. (Dank Depot/Flickr)

City council in Victoria voted last night in favour of crafting a medical marijuana business bylaw that would permit the sale of edible pot products.

The bylaw would ensure these dispensaries are 200 metres away from schools and licensed daycares, and doesn't permit advertising.

Mayor Lisa Helps said she expects council to vote on this bylaw next month.

Helps and other council members said it was seniors who convinced them to buck Vancouver's pot law, which prohibits the sale of edible products such as brownies and cookies.

"Our staff and council were was compelled," said Helps. "We heard loud and clear from many people who came to the town hall we held, particularly from seniors, and particularly from senior women, that they have chronic pain and they don't want to smoke marijuana. They want access to edibles."

But B.C. health officer Dr. Perry Kendall urged Victoria council in a letter on Monday to reconsider the plan to permit edible marijuana sales.

"While I understand that this position was supported by a majority of those in the community who were consulted -- on the basis that they felt the benefits would outweigh the harms -- such a conclusion is not based on the evidence," Kendall said in the letter.

The federal Liberal government has said it plans to introduce legislation in 2017 to legalize marijuana in Canada. (Jeff Chiu/AP/Canadian Press)

Helps said it's not her job to regulate the quality and safety of the marijuana brownies sold at the city's 35 medical pot dispensaries.

Council voted to turn over the issue of monitoring the health and safety of the edible products to provincial health officials.

"Our position, my position is that it is not the city's responsibility to regulate food products," Helps said. "The city doesn't regulate the contents of the spicy nut triangle that I get at Habit Coffee. That's not our jurisdiction."

Kendall said in a statement Thursday he was disappointed in council's decision. Local public health officials cannot regulate the illegal substances found in edibles either, he said.

"While I have advocated for, and strongly support the legalization of cannabis, I favour a public health-based regulatory scheme and not an entepreneurially-driven one," he said.

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