Cabinet minister talks pot with Langley stakeholders as legalization looms

Bill Blair and MP John Aldag spoke to locals about marijuana rules.

Federal cabinet minister Bill Blair said there will be enough marijuana to meet the demand after legalization on Oct. 17.

The minister of border security and organized crime reduction was in Langley City on Friday morning with Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag to speak to a private round table on legalization.

The round table included members from Langley’s business community, social service agencies, and Supt. Murray Power, head of the Langley RCMP detachment.

After the event, Blair spoke about issues with pot at the border, and said that the government will install signs as firm warnings to anyone heading south of the 49th that taking pot into the U.S. – even into Washington State, where marijuana is legal – is a crime.

“You’re not going to be able to miss the signs,” Blair said.

He compared them to the signs that warn Americans not to bring handguns into Canada.

Blair said there will be sufficient marijuana to meet the legal market, despite the fact that on Oct. 17 only one marijuana retail outlet is expected to be open in B.C. – in Kamloops.

“We have been reassured there will be adequate supply,” Blair said.

Despite Blair’s reassurances, many communities, including Langley Township, have not yet put a framework in place for retail marijuana stores to open.

It’s expected to be an issue for the new councils to deal with after the Oct. 20 municipal elections.

He is concerned about organized crime’s grip on marijuana distribution, Blair said, and noted that police will still be able to bust illegal grow operations and sales as they can now.

“On Wednesday we begin the process of displacing them [criminals] from this market,” Blair said.

Blair and Aldag said they heard some thoughtful and useful questions from the locals at the round table, and noted that legalization is a collaborative effort.

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