Editorial: Legal cannabis shops seems stuck in bureaucratic headache

Why is it taking so long for any marijuana shops to open?

Why is it taking so long for marijuana shops to open in so many communities?

They were operating before it was legal, and now that it is, it seems strange that there’s nowhere to go to buy cannabis, for medicine, recreation or anything else.

The reason existing shops shut down is clear enough, they want to be able to legally open their doors, and their applications could be in jeopardy (not to mention the danger of a police raid like the ones in Port Alberni) should they continue to operate before they get the provincial and local governments’ OK.

But why is it taking so long to get that OK?

You can, of course, get marijuana online from a provincial government store if you’re impatient. It opened for business the moment pot was legalized.

But as for bricks and mortar private stores, officials say the municipal elections slowed down the application processing, and that may be true, but it also begs the question, why weren’t applications being processed long in advance of legalization day? It wasn’t a surprise. Everyone knew it was coming. So why weren’t our governments more prepared?

With just a little bit of forethought, it seems as if cannabis stores could have been all nice and pre-processed, ready to open on Oct. 17. After all, the provincial government online portal was ready. Users, wanna-be users and likely the hopeful shopkeepers are understandably frustrated by the delays, which don’t seem like they’re going to be resolved any time soon.

We’re not advocating for anyone to use cannabis. That’s a personal choice. But it is now a legal product around which legitimate businesses can be built. This also means it’s subject to various bureaucracies. Not necessarily a bad thing, but so far we seem to have stumbled out of the blocks in terms of providing a clear path for the fledgling legal industry.

Many must be hoping that after this initial hiccup, things get better.

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