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Learning curve a given for municipal administrators when it comes to pot

Sharon Callfas
Town clerk, York Harbour
Sharon Callfas Town clerk, York Harbour - Dave Kearsey

Legalization of marijuana is a reality and there’s a steep learning curve for everybody when it comes to what the impact it will have on employers and towns.

The legalization of marijuana and what it does or does not mean for communities in this province was a topic of discussion at the 2018 Professional Municipal Administrators Annual Convention and Trade Show.

The guest speaker for the Cannabis in your Community session Friday at the Glynmill Inn was lawywer Stewart McKelvey, who has been analyzing what it could mean to employers responsible for providing a safe workplace.

McKelvey shared information on how marijuana will be treated in a similar fashion to alcohol and cited several cases where things were pretty tricky when it comes to the laws and regulations.

He believes everybody will need time to adjust to the changes and people in the room were eager to find out more to ensure they follow the rules and regulations for the benefit of providing safe work environments.

The Western Star talked to a couple of professional municipal administrators from the west coast about cannabis becoming a reality in our communities:

Sharon Callfas

Town clerk, York Harbour

"You have to educate yourself on what the impacts will be to the town and what guidelines and procedures you’re going to have to follow.

"We’re in the process of getting our municipal plan in place and I think it’s kind of perfect timing because now we can incorporate this and have it part of our plan so that there are regulations in place so that we’re not trying to figure out after things happen.

"I think it’s one of those things that everybody is learning as we go ... I think towns are going have to be prepared and educate themselves."

Rodger Hunt,

Town manager, Massey Drive

"There still seems to be more questions than answer of how all of this is going to unfold and what impact it’s actually going to have on us as local government in a municipality.

"It doesn’t seem to be very clear yet as to exactly it’s all going to be legislated, how it’s going to be distributed, who is going to be able to sell it and who’s not going to be able to sell it.

"From an employer’s standpoint it was a little more informative and understanding ... how it relates to the relationship between the employer and employee with legal marijuana use.

"We’re going to have to do a little bit of research. We’re going to have to talk to some other experts and put some kind of a policy in place specifically as it relates to the employer/employee relationship and the legalization of marijuana."

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