Pubdate: Sat, 15 Apr 2017
Source: Prince Albert Daily Herald (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 Prince Albert Daily Herald
Author: Arthur White-Crummey
Page: 1
Referenced: Cannabis Act:


The province is reviewing Ottawa's bill, which legalizes public
possession of 30g of marijuana

The federal government has introduced legislation to legalize
marijuana, while placing stricter limits on impaired driving and heavy
sanctions on those who provide the drug to minors.

The government said the legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, should
be in force no later than July 2018. Tabled on Thursday, it will allow
adults over the age of 18 to legally possess up to 30 grams of
marijuana in public, and to grow up to four plants of up to one metre
in height.

Each province will be free to design its own system to regulate
marijuana, and to set a higher age limit for the sale, purchase and
consumption of the drug. In provinces that fail to regulate marijuana,
residents will be able to purchase from federally regulated
distributers over the Internet. A Saskatchewan government
representative told the Daily Herald that the Ministry of Justice is
reviewing the legislation.

"We will also need to look at best ways of distribution and taxation
as none of those details are contained in the bill tabled in the House
of Commons today," read an email from Media Relations Officer Lisa
Danyluk. "We expect the federal government will provide funding where
required and work to clarify some of these questions we have today."

Mayor Greg Dionne said the city has been preparing for the move, but
he told his staff not to get "excited." He points out that there's
still a long way to go before council will need to craft its own policy.

"Once the bill is passed then it goes to the province. They don't at
this time have an idea about how they're going to roll it out," he
said. "We're going to be last in the pecking order."

But Dionne said that he can "guarantee" that marijuana dispensaries
would be subject to discretionary use zoning - which means they'll
need to go before council for approval. He said he expects public
hearings that will allow neighbours to raise their concerns.

The mayor said there are some thing's he'll insist upon, no matter
what the province decides. He said he doesn't want dispensaries
anywhere near schools, hospitals or playgrounds.

"There's Carlton High School, I think it would be inappropriate for us
to allow a dispensary to go in across the street in that mini mall,"
he said. "It's about the children and protecting them."

Police Chief Troy Cooper still urges caution as regulators work out a
system for controlling the production and distribution of marijuana.
He said police worry about how those measures will affect organized
crime, and suggested that home-based cultivation will be very
difficult to control. Then there's the matter of impaired driving.

"Police remain concerned in the area of impaired driving," he said.
"There is currently a lack of Canadian-based training for officers
relating to drugimpaired driving and no science-based equipment is

Danyluk's email indicated that the province has similar

"It is very costly for police to train drug recognition experts and
this is, presently, the only way to identify those that may be
impaired. We hope to see federal funding to accompany the
strengthening of marijuana impaired driving."

But the new legislation does give police sharper legal tools to go
after impaired drivers. Officers will be able to demand a saliva
sample if they have reasonable suspicion that a driver has consumed

The bill also sets out specific legal limits for THC, the main active
chemical in marijuana, and mandates penalties for drivers who exceed
them. Driving with between two and five nanograms of THC per
millilitre of blood will be punishable by a fine, but drivers found
with more than five nanograms could face jail time.

The government is slamming down even harder on people who provide
marijuana to minors. If convicted, they could face up to 14 years in
prison. There are also provisions that restrict advertising, and
forbid any packaging or labelling that "could be appealing to young

The province, according to Danyluk, supports those stringent
penalties. But her email suggested that there are still concerns about
protecting young people.

"Although we are pleased that the federal government will allow
provinces to determine the minimum age of consumption, we are
concerned that the lack of consistency across provinces could be
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt