Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2017
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Grant LaFleche
Page: A3


The parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice says the
federal government will be looking to Niagara's agricultural sector
for guidance when framing legislation to legalize marijuana.

Scarborough West MP Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief, said
Thursday the knowledge of Niagara's farming industry will be
invaluable for a government trying to determine how to regulate
production of pot.

"The interesting thing about coming to Niagara is that the region has
a vibrant agricultural sector, including all the wineries," Blair
said. "That experience is very useful."

Blair was at Brock University Thursday afternoon for a round table
talk with community leaders to discuss the Liberal government's plan
to legalize and regulate marijuana in Canada.

Blair, joined by St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, met with several
leaders of key local agencies, including St. Catharines fire Chief
Dave Wood, Niagara Emergency Medical Services Chief Kevin Smith, and
representatives from Niagara's public health department and Brock.

Blair then met with Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire in
Niagara Falls.

The meeting was part of cross-country consultations the Ministry of
Justice is conducting on the issue.

Blair said he understands the tension between people who want to see
marijuana legalized and the police community which often argues against it.

He said what he believes police agencies are looking for is clear,
unambiguous regulations on the production and possession of marijuana,
including what police can and cannot do about home-based projection of

They are also concerned about drivers impaired by the use of the drug,
he said.

Blair said public health officials, including those in Niagara, are
asking that the health risks of marijuana use be included in new

 From Blair's point of view, the regulations for legalized pot should
look similar to tobacco, which, along with placing limits on where and
by who it can be used, emphasizes the reduction of smoking by
promoting health risks.

Ultimately, Blair said the government expects to bring new regulations
forward in the spring.
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MAP posted-by: Matt