Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jun 2017
Source: Sun Times, The (Owen Sound, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Owen Sound Sun Times
Author: Kevin Bissett
Page: D2


FREDERICTON - The legal age limit for recreational marijuana use in
New Brunswick should be set at 19, a provincial working group
recommended Wednesday in a report that also calls for sales to be
handled by something similar to a Crown corporation.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau said the province's Liberal government
will consider the recommendation, but he said the actual age limit
could be pushed higher.

The New Brunswick Medical Society has already recommended the legal
age should be at least 21.

Before a final decision is made, a select committee of the legislature
will spend the summer gathering public input before reporting this
fall, Boudreau said.

"It's a tight time frame," he said. "We want the select committee of
the legislature to be doing their things over the next several months
to be able to report back to government in the fall because we need to
be ready by July 2018."

That's when new federal rules kick in.

Boudreau said he supports the idea that a Crown corporation, similar
to NB Liquor, should handle all sales.

"This is essentially a brand new industry starting in New Brunswick,
and to make sure that there are tight controls and oversight and
supervision, a Crown corporation model is the model that is being
recommended," he said.

However, Boudreau said cannabis would not be offered for sale within
liquor stores.

"I think there have been very strong arguments made that they should
certainly be different points of sale. It wouldn't be within liquor
stores, even if it was a Crown corporation and even if it was managed
by NB Liquor. It would be a different store front," he said Wednesday.

Green party Leader David Coon said NB Liquor promotes the sale of
alcohol, and he worries it might also do the same with cannabis.

"We need a significant effort to discourage use of cannabis among
youth and those with mental illness," he said. "We need to see an
education campaign that strongly takes on the issues of public health
risks, especially targeted at youth."

New Brunswick's medical society has said the government needs to
approach any public education programs with caution.

"While the public certainly needs education on cannabis, including
driving while high and the co-use of cannabis and alcohol, it must
take such education to the public in a way that does not
unintentionally encourage its use," the society said in a report
released earlier this year.

Boudreau said cannabis sales could be good for the provincial economy,
but his main concern is dealing with health and public safety.

He said the cost of health and safety measures may actually offset
what's gained through cannabis sales.

"Yet on the economic development side, on the job creation side and on
the private sector investment side, I think there is some potential
there to see some benefits for the province of New Brunswick," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Matt