Pubdate: Mon, 11 Sep 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Lee Berthiaume
Page: A3


Minister refuses to weigh in on Ontario's regulation pitch

OTTAWA- The federal government appears ready to take a hands-off
approach as provinces begin rolling out how they plan to police the
sale and use of marijuana once it becomes legal.

Ontario last week became the first province to unveil its plans for
handling legalized pot by announcing that it would closely mimic the
province's current system for liquor.

Marijuana will be sold at 150 dedicated stores run by the Liquor
Control Board of Ontario, it will only be sold to those aged 19 or
over and consumption will be allowed only in private residences.

The proposal has sparked anger and concern from some pot activists and
aspiring retailers, who have warned that Ontario's proposed model will
limit supplies and do little to eliminate the black market.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale refused to weigh in Sunday on
Ontario's proposed plan, and indicated that the federal government
would stay out of how provinces address marijuana legalization.

"Each province has the flexibility to design it the way they think
most appropriate. Ontario has laid out their proposal. That's within
their jurisdiction to do," he said.

"Other provinces, I would imagine now, will come forward with their
recommendations. They may follow the Ontario model. They may choose a
different approach."

Goodale reaffirmed that the purpose of legalization is to keep pot
away from minors and organized crime. He expressed confidence that
whatever model individual provinces decide to adopt, those aims will
be met.

"Each province will adopt different tools as they see fit for their
jurisdiction," Goodale said.

"But there is no diluting of the goal: protect our kids and stop the
flow to crime. And Ontario, I'm sure, will be designing that they
believe will accomplish that objective effectively."

The Trudeau government is moving to legalize recreational marijuana by
next July, and earmarked $247 million over five years on Friday to
support policing and border efforts associated with that plan.

Goodale said the money is part of the Liberals' promise to ensure
provinces, municipalities and law-enforcement agencies have the tools
and resources to enforce the new laws governing legalized pot.

The promised funding includes $161 million to train front-line
officers in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired
driving, provide access to drug-screening devices and educate the public.
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