Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2016
Source: Innisfil Journal (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metroland Media Group Ltd.

We see it this way ...


The legalization of marijuana is not near the top of the agenda for 
Justin Trudeau's Liberal government.

But maybe it should be.

Governments, police, businesses, users and aspiring entrepreneurs 
alike are all increasingly anxious to get some clarity on where 
Canada is headed on this issue.

A lot of people are seeing dollar signs.

Last week, the Globe and Mail revealed both Shoppers Drug Mart and 
London Drugs are working toward becoming distributors of medical marijuana.

Should pharmacy chains enter the pot arena, it could have a profound 
impact on smaller, independent distributors.

As well, last week, a federal court struck down Conservative 
legislation that prevented users of medical marijuana from growing 
their own plants.

Ottawa has six months to rewrite the rules, but you can bet many 
medical users are already planting some buds.

In terms of law enforcement, minor pot offences will continue to be 
prosecuted according to existing laws, said Liberal MP Bill Blair, 
who is heading up the government's transition to legal pot. But Blair 
also said the government will, at some point, offer amnesty to people 
with previous pot-possession criminal convictions.

The mixed messaging can only prompt police forces to consider whether 
or not they should even bother.

Given that in 2014, police laid more than 20,000 pot-related charges, 
perhaps a little restraint is a good idea anyway.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne continues to lobby for pot sales 
through LCBO outlets.

While restricting pot to LCBO stores may be the best option in terms 
of keeping it out of the hands of kids, it would inhibit potential 
economic spinoffs from a growing industry.

And then there's the growing business of selling medicinal pot 
through the mail. Police can do little about it, since they only have 
the power to seize mail when there is an issue of national security.

By promising legalization, Trudeau has let a genie out of a bottle. 
He needs to act quickly to provide stakeholders with the tools they 
need to move forward.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom