Union of BC Municipalities votes on cannabis resolutions

Today the Union of BC Municipalities voted on two cannabis resolutions at their annual conference in Victoria.

When the practice vote is a resolution stating that 'the Beachcombers is the best Canadian TV Show ever' fails by 51 to 49 at the annual meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), and the real resolutions include topics such as old growth logging, the Site-C project, watershed protection, it's fair to say you might expect a lively exchange on two new cannabis resolutions.

Resolution 2016-A2 was a request that 'the provincial government include the UBCM in the process of legalization...and call on pertinent parties to include local government consultation and ensure adequate time to 'align and integrate regional and local regulations and practice with new federal laws.' It was put forward by the City of Nelson, and endorsed by the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments.

The Resolutions Committee cited a resolution passed last year which asserted that local governments held the authority to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries, and one passed in 2012 calling for the decriminalization of cannabis, and research into the regulation and taxation of it (1). The committee also cited some of UBCM's Statement of General Policies, including that local governments be recognized as “a full and equal partner in the system of Canadian government,” that “governments should be committed to consultation and coordination,” and that “other governments should give adequate notice and should consult on legislation” likely to affect local governments (2).

The second cannabis resolution of the day was put forward by the City of Duncan, and endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities. 2016-A3 calls on the federal government “to request that a portion of any future federal or provincial tax collected” on cannabis “be shared with local governments.” It also requests that “the concept of tax sharing with local governments be forwarded to the new task force” looking into legalization.

The Resolutions Committee cited the same two previous resolution decisions, and reminded delegates that 'the expansion of local government revenue tools is a foundational concept endorsed by UBCM members'.

In what is surely a sign of the times in BC, both resolutions passed unanimously, without discussion or debate. Old growth logging was perhaps the most contentious issue of the day, with a resolution to request the protection of all remaining Vancouver Island old growth forest on crown land. The City of Metchosin brought resolution 2016-C27, which wasn't scheduled to be heard until later in the week as the Resolutions Committee had recommended the item be referred back to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities who had endorsed it. Successfully moving the item forward, the movers of the resolution saw it pass with 80% of the vote. Perhaps if hemp farming had been included in the resolution as an alternative, it could also have been unanimous.

1 - Resolutions 2015-B98 and 2012-A5

2 - UBCM Statement of General Policies 2.1, 2.2, and 2.7


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