Surrey mayor Linda Hepner spent her state of the city address introducing a selection of improvements to different aspects of the city, including law enforcement.
But near the top of Hepner’s list was the fast approaching legalization of marijuana, and how her city can better prepare for it.
She says she will be sending a city delegation south of the border, to take a look at the legalization of marijuana and what it means to cities like Seattle, Denver, Portland and Los Angeles.
Hepner says she wants to know how specific cities are either dealing with it or preparing to deal with it.
“I’m going to send a couple of councillors along with some folk from bylaw and regulatory departments to take a look at what on the ground is happening for those who have been experiencing it and what they’re doing in preparation for some of the larger cities who are faced with it in the same time frame as we are.”
She says over the next two years Washington State expects to collect more than $730-million in taxes because of marijuana’s legalization.
Regardless of anyone’s opinion on marijuana, the fact is it’s going to become law and her city needs to be ready, Hepner says.
“So whether marijuana is a business opportunity or one more social issue that needs our attention is yet to be seen. I want to make sure we are ready and prepared to mitigate any issues and I want our city to get its share of any tax dollars collected from Ottawa and Victoria.”
Hepner says marijuana could either be a big issue or a big asset, depending on how Surrey is prepared.