Pubdate: Thu, 02 Mar 2017
Source: Journal-Pioneer, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2017 Journal-Pioneer
Page: A4


As spring approaches, so does the federal government's promise to
introduce legislation to legalize marijuana. The Justin Trudeau
government announced back in April of last year that it would be
introducing new legislation next spring. So now that spring is almost
upon us, will that bill be coming soon?

Even when that bill arrives, it still needs to pass through the House
of Commons and the Senate.

That could take months, perhaps extend into early 2018, and even then,
the passing of the bill doesn't mean legal marijuana will be available
right away.

That may be more of a blessing, than a curse.

As the legislation meanders through the sluggish pace of government,
this could allow time to prepare for the day when Canadians will
actually be allowed to buy the drug legally.

Right now, production and possession of marijuana is illegal unless it
has been authorized for medical purposes.

The allowed medicinal use, introduced about four years ago, has
already led to a large number of Canadians using cannabis. The most
recent Health Canada figures show almost 130,000 Canadians registered
to purchase medical marijuana from licensed producers.

But what happens when pot becomes an option for any adult? Will users
give the same consideration to using marijuana as they do to consuming

The recent incident of an allegedly impaired Sunwing Airlines pilot,
who was removed from the cockpit of a plane that was ready to fly out
of Calgary, serves as a warning about the dangers of being high or
drunk on the job.

Companies need to create or update their drug and alcohol policies in
light of the pending legalization of marijuana.

Just as it would not be acceptable for employees to show up drunk at
work or drink on the job, it should not be OK for workers to come to
their jobs high or to smoke pot while at work.

Laws regarding the use of the drug must also be in

Just as it is illegal to drive while impaired or consume alcohol in
public, it should also be illegal to drive or smoke pot or be high in
a public place.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott admits it will take time to set
up systems with all the provinces.

"We need to make sure that there is a strict regulatory process in
place and that there are restrictions in terms of access.

We also have work to do on the public education front."

The regulations and public education should start well before the drug
is legalized.
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