A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf flies during a rally in support of legalizing marijuana on June 5, 2004 alongside Parliament Hill In Ottawa, Canada. (Donald Weber, Getty Images file)

Cities in Canada weigh bans, new regs in march toward cannabis legalization

Canada has yet to formulate and implement cannabis legalization measures, but some cities already have begun preparations to adapt or brace for impact.

In Edmonton, Alberta, city and business officials have taken initial steps to develop policies and regulations in advance of a national regime, according to CBC. In Richmond, British Columbia, city council members are seeking out means to prohibit marijuana dispensaries, according to the Globe and Mail.

Richmond is expected to vote on the dispensary ban this week, Canada’s newspaper of record reported:

“Legalization doesn’t mean to say we have to follow suit,” councillor Bill McNulty said in an interview. “We want to keep a safe community. … Just because the federal government is there doesn’t mean to say they always make good decisions.”

Legislation for cannabis legalization is expected to go before Canada’s Parliament this spring.

Last month, a government-appointed task force outlined 80 recommendations for the potential regime, including restricting cannabis sales in liquor stores, setting a minimum purchase age of 18, establishing a mail-order delivery service, maintaining the national medical cannabis program and prioritizing research.

Edmonton city leaders say they’re hoping to stay ahead of the curve by reviewing potential issues such as proximity of dispensaries to schools, according to the CBC:

“We have to look at what happened in other jurisdictions,” said Mike Nickel, Edmonton city council member. “Don’t reinvent the wheel. See what happened there, see what they did, and look at best practices.

“Then we put it in an Edmonton context, to see how it fits us and we can tailor-make our solutions that way.”

Although cannabis sales remain illegal outside of the Health Canada medical marijuana program that allows mail-order delivery to patients who have a doctor’s prescription, cities such as Vancouver in British Columbia have already gone so far as to regulate and license medical marijuana dispensaries.