the Township of Langley and FireWise Consulting is presenting ‘Cannabis Legalization: What it Means for Local Governments’ this Thursday, April 26 at the Fort Langley Fire Hall from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Black Press file photo

the Township of Langley and FireWise Consulting is presenting ‘Cannabis Legalization: What it Means for Local Governments’ this Thursday, April 26 at the Fort Langley Fire Hall from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Black Press file photo

Pot forum in Fort Langley

Marijuana experts from Colorado among scheduled speakers

Coming this summer, possibly to a store near you: legal pot.

So are you ready for it?

A day-long seminar this Thursday at Township Fire Hall 2 aims to clear some of the haze surrounding the intricacies of legalizing marijuana.

With the Canadian Senate passing the second reading of Bill C-45 late last month, pot legalization has moved one step closer.

The federal government plans to enact this legislation in the summer.

Many jurisdictions are wondering how this will affect their communities as the responsibilities of the provincial and federal governments are clear — leaving municipalities, local governments and other jurisdictions in a grey area.

The Township of Langley and FireWise Consulting is presenting ‘Cannabis Legalization: What it Means for Local Governments’ on April 26 at the Fort Langley Fire Hall (23137 96 Ave.) from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

This seminar will see representatives from local governments and protective services including mayors, members of council, finance personnel, human resources, bylaw enforcement, building inspectors, community planners, firefighters and police services come together to learn from a notable team of speakers.

The public is also invited to register. Cost is $297 plus GST, and includes lunch.

Register online at: http://bit.ly/Cannabislegalization

“This will be an engaging, informative, educational and unique event highlighting what we should prepare for and expect in B.C., while learning from other jurisdictions that have already faced cannabis legalization,” it’s noted in a press release.

“The federal government has made this legislation to make cannabis legal; the provincial government is doing their thing, but the workings of it is going to fall to the local government,” said Bob Turley, program developer with FireWise Consulting Ltd.

“The complaints: what are they going to do about a smoke complaint, or a smell complaint, what are the impacts on the general public, the municipality? The municipality is going to have to do inspections, they are going to respond to complaints. People are going to applying for business licences for everything from growing the product to retailing the product and all the steps that go with that. Those are the kinds of things we’re going to talk about.”

Topics and presenters include:

Navigating Local Government Law presented by Sukhbir Manhas, partner at Young Anderson and British Columbia municipal law expert

Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization in Colorado presented by Marc Vasquez, Retired Police Chief, Erie, Colo.; and

Deepak Anand from Cannabis Compliance Inc., who will be sharing info on federal and provincial regulations — proposed and existing.

City of Langley Mayor Ted Schaffer, who doesn’t plan on attending the seminar, said the City is waiting for more information from the provincial government before moving forward with any kinds of bylaws and legislation.

“It’s still in the hands of staff,” Schaffer said. “We as a council haven’t had any discussions on the subject. That’s the bottom line.”

Senior advisor to Township Council Bill Storie said the legalization of marijuana is “convoluted” at this stage.

“The federal government says one thing, the province says what they’re looking for and it’ll be up to the municipalities with downloading, to try to monitor these things,” Storie said.

Dispenseries aren’t permitted anywhere in the Township under current zoning. Whether this situation will change “will be a council decision down the road,” Storie said.

“At the present time, if you came the the Township and said, ‘I want to open up a dispensery, we would tell you no. It’s not a permitted use.”

Storie predicted that, once cannabis legalization is passed on either July 1 or sometime after that federally targeted date, it will be “difficult for the province to figure out what their system is going to look like and then everything else will be downloaded to the municipalities.”

Another link to the event is: www.firewiseconsulting.com/upcoming-events/cannabis-legalization-what-it-means-for-local-governments