Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jul 2017
Source: York Guardian (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The York Guardian


Drugs cost money.

This is a universal truth: whether it's the legal kind like alcohol or
tobacco, or the banned stuff like cocaine or heroin, or, for now,
marijuana, a habit is going to take a chunk out of anyone's paycheque
in addition to their life expectancy.

As it is with us as frail individuals, so it is with the governments
we elect, when we make the choice to turn on the tap - or light the
pipe - of legalized intoxicants.

And when legalized marijuana becomes a reality in Canada next year,
it's going to cost money. Last week, Mayor John Tory pointed this out,
in the latest of a series of letters to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Tory made the point as he was insisting that Toronto be
heavily-involved in any of the decisions regarding implementing that
legalization. Much of those decisions will come at a provincial level
- - notably, how and where the drug is sold, what the minimum age will
be for purchasing marijuana, and so on.

For Toronto, it's particularly important to regulate where and how
marijuana is sold. We know here from bitter experience with illegal
dispensaries that relatively unregulated sales will go badly.

The province should make sure that the sale of marijuana takes place
well away from schools and community centres, and other places where
young people and the vulnerable congregate.

Although Tory didn't mention it in his letter, the federal government
would also do well to take a cue from Toronto's Medical Officer of
Health Dr. Eileen De Villa, who earlier this year wrote a report
calling for the immediate decriminalization of marijuana. De Villa
noted that many of the problems that the city is having now with
illegal dispensaries would go away with an immediate legalization and
subsequent regulation.

But that is not to say that legalization, now or next year, will solve
all of our problems. Tory notes that Dr. De Villa and Toronto's health
department will be very busy as marijuana use becomes more widespread,
dealing with the very real public health issues that arise from use,
and inevitable overuse, of the drug.

The city will inevitably be involved in providing inspections and
regulating locations. Police will take on new and potentially costly

Tory's suggestion that the cost of those services come out of
provincial tax on marijuana is a sensible one. The fallout of
legalization will cost money, and it only makes sense that those who
choose to use foot the bill.
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