City in front of marijuana grow issue

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Council makes unexpected motion to seek public input on amendment

Marijuana plant

There is no truth to the rumour (started here) that Charlottetown city council is considering a motto change from ‘Cunabula Foederis’ (literally Cradle of the Federation but officially translated as Birthplace of Confederation) to ‘Cannabis Foederis.’ It just wouldn’t be appropriate in this 150th anniversary year of the Charlottetown Conference which led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada.

Seriously, the city is wise to get in front of the legal production of medical marijuana issue. The recent controversy swirling nationally about decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana has made it a hot topic. But there was the normally cautious chair of planning, Rob Lantz, bringing the issue to the floor and getting a 9-0 vote in support of a motion to proceed to public consultations on amending the city’s bylaw to allow for the construction of such a facility.

The plant would cater to medical marijuana production and in the event weed ever gets decriminalized or legalized, the plant could be ramped up to produce even more. Like it or not, it’s now the law of the land that doctors can prescribe marijuana for pain relief and other medical issues and Health Canada has to make it available. Someone has to produce it and there is the potential for lots of money to be made from growing it.

Just look at what happened in Colorado in recent weeks where possession of small amounts for personal use is now legal. Residents can buy from approved retailers selling state-licensed weed. There were lineups and sellouts. The state thinks it will raise hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

Charlottetown is already taking steps to ease citizens’ concerns. The resolution stipulated that a medical marijuana production facility could only be built in a business park industrial zone, such as the bio-commons park with strict security, protection and control. Coun. Lantz says there are no applications from anyone seeking to build such a plant, but he has heard reports that an application is coming and it’s best to be ready to act quickly. It would be a boon for city coffers and employment. His reasoning is that the plant is better located here than somewhere outside the city or outside the province. Lantz views it as an economic development opportunity for the city. It makes sense.

Would the HST apply? Of course. P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan must already be counting his new tax revenue.

Overheard at Edmonton airport

Security officer: “Excuse me sir, you can’t board the plane with that pipe bomb in your carry-on luggage.”

Passenger: “Oh, sorry. You detected that. (Nervous laughter). Um…OK, you can keep it.”

Security officer: “That’s fine. We’ll hold it here until you return from your trip. Have a good flight.”

Passenger: “Thanks.”

Stewardess: “Sir, enjoy your flight.”

Passenger: “It should be uneventful, now.”

Four days after the seizure: Security calls RCMP.

Three days after that: Passenger arrested upon his return to Canada.

(p.s. A Canadian Press story Tuesday said Skylar Murphy, 18, pleaded guilty in December to possession of an explosive substance and was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $100. Court documents say black powder and a pipe bomb were seized in his luggage. Airport security said they don’t have the authority to detain passengers, even those with explosive devices which could destroy a plane.)

Moral of story: Charlottetown taxi drivers should not even consider trying to collect unpaid fares in the future from visiting Edmonton airport security officers. It would be a waste of time.

Organizations: Charlottetown city council, Dominion, Health Canada Canadian Press

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Edmonton, Colorado Canada

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