Pubdate: Mon, 04 Jul 2016
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Page: 3
Copyright: 2016 The Western Star
Author: James McLeod


All Three Parties Support Legalization, but Specifics Are Scanty

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons, Opposition Leader Paul Davis, and 
New Democrat MHA Gerry Rogers have all smoked marijuana, and all 
three are in favour of legalizing it. But when it comes to the 
nitty-gritty of legalized weed in Newfoundland and Labrador, the 
picture is still very hazy.

"There's plenty of meetings, plenty of work, but all of it sort of 
based on a wait-and-see," Parsons said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise of legalizing 
marijuana in Canada, and since taking office last year, the federal 
government has started to make moves in that direction.

On Thursday, the federal government announced a task force on 
legalizing and regulating marijuana, with the goal of keeping it out 
of the hands of young people, and keeping the profits out of the 
hands of criminals.

"We will introduce effective, evidence-based legislation for 
consideration by parliament in the spring of 2017. The legislation 
will come into effect once regulations are developed and brought into 
force," a statement from the federal ministers responsible said.

On the same day, CTV News reported on a Nanos Research poll which 
shows that 69 per cent of Canadians support marijuana legalization.

Legalization is something that Davis, a former police officer, supports.

"When people purchase marijuana from a drug dealer on a street 
corner, you don't know what you're getting. And we've heard stories 
over the years, and my past, of marijuana laced with different kinds 
of chemicals," he said.

"I believe that decriminalizing, or standardizing, or taking some 
action to control the content, sale and distribution could be 
beneficial, but I haven't seen the plan yet that satisfies."

Rogers, a cancer survivor, said that when she was going through 
chemotherapy, people were just constantly giving her pot. She said 
she's put on her jacket and reach into the pocket to find someone had 
slipped a joint in there for her.

She said that the chemo would make her feel "like the Dead Sea" and 
marijuana was the only thing that would break her out of that.

When it comes to what sort of government policies need to be enacted 
to support legalization, though, Rogers said she's not sure.

Parsons said the biggest thing he's hearing about it how the province 
will enforce impaired driving when it comes to marijuana.

But another looming questions is where pot will be sold to the public.

"I think I've heard that the NLC would possibly be given some 
consideration, but that's not something I've had a chat about," Parsons said.

Rogers and Davis also weren't sure. Davis said that the government 
should be consulting with the public and specific stakeholders in preparation.

Rogers wasn't sure about that either.

"Do we need full public consultation? I don't know, I'm not sure 
about that either. But we certainly need to look at it," she said.
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