Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Author: Mike Norris
Page: A1
Referenced: Cannabis Act:


If the sale of marijuana becomes legal in Canada next year, Kingston,
Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health wants it to be
strictly a not-for-profit venture.

At its monthly board of governors meeting Wednesday, the health unit
passed a motion urging the federal and Ontario governments to support
and implement a not-for-profit production/distribution system with a
mandate that focuses on protecting the public's health, if the
distribution and sale of cannabis is allowed. Legislation is expected
to take effect by July 1, 2018.

"If you legalize it, take it slow to decide what to do next," Dr. Ian
Gemmill, medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health, said.

"There's a tidal wave on the bandwagon to make money. There should be
thoughtful deliberation about what to do next. We don't want to see
profiting from this, like with tobacco."

Ideally, KFL&A Public Health would like the federal government to
delay legalization and commercialization of cannabis until more
information is known about the effects of its commercialization on
health. "Our concerns with the health effects are the same as the
health effects of smoking and drinking and driving," Gemmill said.

"Let [the government] take a long, deep breath. Let's not go down the
commercial route. Make it a nonprofit public health model. Avoiding
the bandwagon approach makes a lot of sense."

Board member E. Helen Yanch expressed concern about how the drug might
be distributed.

"We can't bury our head in the sand," she said. "It will be for
profit, but I don't want corner stores to sell cannabis."

Board member and Kingston councillor Jim Neill agreed with

"From a public health lens, many are already invested in the
commercial end, including big donors to political parties," he said.

"I'd hate to see it [sold] in grocery stores or corner stores. For
health and safety issues, they shouldn't allow cannabis distribution
centres near schools."

In April, the federal government introduced Bill C-45, legislating the
legalization of marijuana. The legislation would allow the Cannabis
Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate
its production, distribution and sale.

The proposed Cannabis Act would:

* restrict access by prohibiting the sale or provision of cannabis to
persons under the age of 18.

* protect youths by limiting how cannabis is promoted, displayed,
packaged and labelled.

* control access to cannabis by establishing restrictions for adults
regarding possession, sharing, purchasing, growing and making cannabis

* establish criminal penalties, in proportion to the seriousness of
the offence, for illegal sale or distribution, possession over the
limit, production beyond personal cultivation, importing or exporting
of cannabis, and through amendments to the Criminal Code establish
penalties related to cannabis-impaired driving.
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