Pubdate: Thu, 06 Apr 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Authors: Kristy Kirkup, Steve Lambert and Dean Bennett
Page: A11


At least three provinces are making it clear they expect Ottawa to
foot the bill for costs associated with its plan to legalize marijuana
- - an issue that will have significant impacts in their

In Edmonton on Wednesday, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley
said there will likely be additional financial pressures related to
regulation, testing and sharing public information about a legalized

"We certainly are expecting some help with that - in what form that
comes is difficult to say without having seen the regulations," she

The government is expected to introduce legislation as soon as next
week, ahead of annual "Weed Day" celebrations on April 20, to regulate
the use of marijuana.

Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said Wednesday the
province told a federally appointed task force that legalizing
marijuana would create new demands on police.

Ottawa will need to provide provinces and territories with sufficient
financial resources to support law enforcement, particularly in the
area of training and equipment to deal with impaired drivers, she added.

"They will also need to provide sufficient resources for inspectors to
ensure compliance with marijuana production and storage regulations,
rather than trying to rely on police resources for inspections,"
Stefanson said in a statement.

Late last month, Saskatchewan also issued a statement saying it is
concerned about public safety and significant increases in enforcement
costs - a tab it doesn't plan to pay itself.

In an interview Wednesday, Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief and
now parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould,
said the federal government recognizes and respects the role of the
provinces in the legalization of marijuana.

"We know that the provinces will have a very significant role,
particularly in managing the retail environment and the consumption
regulations," Blair said. "In order to do that effectively, they are
going to need to have resources for the administration and enforcement
. and so that's part of an important discussion that will take place
between the federal government and the provinces."

Police are also concerned about training and demands under a legalized

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is also urging the
federal government to financially support officers seeking to become
qualified drug recognition experts, says president Mario Harel.

"Driving under the influence of marijuana is already a situation we
are facing now but we believe it is going to enhance the problem once
it is legalized," he said in an interview. "We really need to train
more experts." He said there now are about 600 such experts across the
country and the need is estimated at about 2,000.

Field certification training is offered in the United States, Harel
said, but it should also be available in Canada.

Blair stressed that the federal government is committed to ensuring
that police and courts have technology, training and resources to keep
roads safe.

"It is not just a matter of passing legislation; we need to make sure
that our police officers have the technology they need to be able to
detect and gather evidence for this offence," he said.

"We also know they need more training ... We need a made-in-Canada
training program that is accessible to all police services and
available in both official languages."

Police chiefs also want the Liberal government to exclude personal
cultivation from its plans to legalize marijuana, Harel said.

The task force on legalization recommended allowing people to
cultivate up to four marijuana plants for personal use but Harel said
enforcing such limits can be very difficult.

Harel, who is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate's legal
and constitutional affairs committee, said it's impossible to ensure
such pot isn't being cultivated for the black market.
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