B.C. doctors' group says ban home pot grow ops

“There isn’t a consensus amongst doctors. The feedback we got contained many different points of view.”

Doctors of B.C. is asking the provincial government to consider banning individuals from growing recreational pot at home when it becomes legal in July. 

The group was one of more than 130 stakeholders offering feedback to the B.C. government as part of its consultation on cannabis regulation and distribution. The variety of submissions points to the complex decisions government faces. Doctors of B.C. provided a list of “considerations” since there isn’t enough evidence to make strong a recommendation, said president-elect Dr. Eric Cadesky. 

“There isn’t a consensus amongst doctors. The feedback we got contained many different points of view.” He said that’s because there are no clear guidelines on how to safely grow and use cannabis.

Under federal Bill C-45, adults would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household. Doctors of B.C. cited a Canadian Medical Association recommendation that identified potential health risks with home cultivation, such as high humidity and temperatures, risk of re and pesticide use.

Children might also have access to the plants and there’s a lack of quality control for potency. The federal government has set July 1 as the date for marijuana legalization and it’s up to provinces to figure out how it will be regulated and distributed in each province.

That means determining matters such as legal age for consumption, possession limits, home cultivation rules and who will be allowed to sell marijuana. B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has said the government won’t have any word on regulation and distribution models before the spring session of the legislature.

The B.C. Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police is asking for more funding to support training for drug-recognition experts and field sobriety testing for cannabis-enforcement teams and a seed-to sale inspection strategy. The police association also recommends pricing that is competitive with the black market, setting the consumption age at 19 years and creating penalty structures for public consumption similar to alcohol. It says only licensed commercial producers should be allowed grow it.

The B.C. Pharmacists Association wants the province to crack down on the use of the word “dispensaries,” for non-medicinal pot shops. Only facilities with a pharmacist should be able to distribute medicinal marijuana, it said.

“B.C.’s community pharmacists believe our province is in a unique position regarding the entrenched and far-reaching presence of ‘medicinal’ cannabis retailers. Unlike other provinces, where the appearance of cannabis ‘dispensaries’ has been relatively recent, B.C. has had pot retailers for many years in significant numbers,” the pharmacists association said.

“We are strongly of the view that B.C. has a responsibility to advocate for a speedier timeline to implement a widely accessible medicinal cannabis program through legitimate pharmacies,” it said.

LandlordBC said it is concerned about the consumption and growing of recreational marijuana in rental units. The organization says smoking marijuana should be banned wherever tobacco is banned and that landlords should have the power to ban it.

Growing marijuana should be banned in multi-unit dwellings and rented dwellings of any size, it said. LandlordBC is concerned that growing recreational pot at home could create safety hazards because of electrical overloading and excess humidity, might bother other tenants with the strong smell and create potential liabilities for landlords.

Amy Smart/Times Colonist

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