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Whistler looks to control medical marijuana

Notice of motion indicates move for future debate on issue


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Whistler lawmakers are considering taking proactive steps to control the proliferation of medical marijuana growers in the resort municipality.

Coun. Jayson Faulkner raised a notice of motion on Tuesday during the regular council meeting, a procedural step to indicate he will be bringing an action forward at a later date for council to debate.

He said: "That council direct staff to initiate preparation of a zoning amendment bylaw to regulate activities related to the research, development, production, and distribution of medical marijuana."

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden explained the rationale for the move.

"We don't necessarily want that to happen in Whistler," she said, adding that she is aware of one operation but it did not need a rezoning and was beyond council's control.

"We don't necessarily want a proliferation of them. Personally, I'm in favour of legalizing marijuana but until the federal government gets to that stage, we don't necessarily want medical grow operations."

The move comes amid major changes in Canada to the medical marijuana industry. Where once licensed users could grow their own pot, or buy from small-scale growers or from the government, now the government will license commercial producers who will deal directly with buyers. Health Canada will simply license and inspect the producers.

The old system is set to end as of April 1.

Mayor meeting on highway safety

Provincial transportation officials have called a meeting with Whistler's mayor in the wake of October's fatal logging truck accident on Highway 99.

The mayor confirmed the Nov. 12 meeting comes at the request of Brian Atkins, regional district manager for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. MLA Jordan Sturdy has also been invited.

Hugh Roberts, a 65-year-old West Vancouver man, died Oct. 19 after a southbound logging truck tipped, lost its load and trapped Roberts, who was riding a motorcycle northbound.

At the time, Wilhelm-Morden said: "The (fatal accident) happened right in the middle of town on a Saturday afternoon when the highway was busy... people are really worried."

She directed staff to work with the RCMP on logging truck safety.

"We don't have jurisdiction, unfortunately, over the provincial highway so we can't do something like ban logging trucks, but we do have responsibility for policing."