Anyone who has dealt with the government knows how quickly things can get bogged down in bureaucracy. Even something as simple as doing income tax can leave us tearing our hair out.
For people running a business, it can be even worse. And when they complain about it, the government — trying to appear sympathetic — will often respond by appointing yet another bureaucrat to look at ways of cutting red tape.
So it’s no surprise that in many cases, business is done under the table. It’s so much easier to do a job, exchange cash and move on.
In a sense, that’s the way it has been for medicinal marijuana grow-ops. As long as they fly under the radar — not bothering the neighbours, for example — they can happily operate with minimum interference from government officials or police.
But it looks like those days are coming to an end.
For one thing, many of those grow-ops are now being licensed by the federal government.
That’s one level of bureaucracy. And now municipalities are responding by creating zoning bylaws. In the case of Kamloops, the proposal is for these grow-ops to be restricted to industrial areas.
The care-free days of neighbourhood mom-and-pop operations would come to an end with this type of zoning because these ventures would be forced to consolidate and set up with security measures on a larger scale.
And the quagmire of regulation won’t end there.
Municipalities are now facing the prospect of how to deal with 13,000 licensed growers across B.C. being forced to shut down over concerns that the program is being abused.
Since many of these operations are in people’s homes, local governments need to ensure that they are closed down properly and made safe for future homeowners. But the federal government — citing privacy and lack of authority — won’t say where they are.
While there is no immediate solution in sight, you can be sure that whatever it is will entail even more regulation. In the end, it may become so expensive and complicated to grow medicinal marijuana that few of the current growers will be able to carry on.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.