Pubdate: Wed, 20 Sep 2017
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 The StarPhoenix
Author: Jonathan Charlton
Page: A1


It will be a "huge challenge" to get Saskatchewan ready for the
expected July 1 legalization of marijuana, Attorney General Don Morgan

"We will have to introduce legislation at some point during the fall
session so it can be voted (on) in the spring. So for us to get the
information out of the survey, announce to the public 'this is what
we're hearing' so that people know this is the consensus we're getting
from the province, and then get legislation in and workable, is going
to be a real challenge."

The province's online cannabis survey has had 30,876 responses,
including 23,197 fully completed surveys and 7,679 partially
completed, Morgan said.

"I found it intriguing that there were that many, by a long

The survey covers policy issues such as how cannabis should be made
available for purchase, whether consumption should be prohibited in
public and what the legal age of consumption should be. It's open
until Oct. 6.

"But the operational part from next year is going to be an even bigger
challenge, because we don't have the mechanisms in place for testing
drivers, testing people in the workplace where there's been an
incident," Morgan said.

"We know that in some jurisdictions they're using a swab, but we'd
have to identify how accurate the swabs are, will we be able to have
access to enough of them, are they reliable. Just the mechanics of
getting it up to speed is going to be huge."

People who have contacted the government are concerned about pot in
the hands of children, Morgan said. The default age under the
legislation is 18, but some say it should be higher to safeguard
developing brains. He also worries about second-hand marijuana smoke,
he said.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association at its spring representative
assembly called for the legal age of use to be set at 21, president
Joanne Sivertson said.

"There's evidence out there that prolonged use of marijuana can have
negative effects on a developing brain, and we know the brain develops
well into a person's 20s."

The SMA also wants the same consideration given to pot as is given to
alcohol when it comes to packaging and labelling that doesn't target
youth, and perhaps limits to the hours and locations marijuana is
available, she said.

In an emailed statement, Saskatoon city police spokeswoman Kelsie
Fraser said the police force "has not had a chance to review the
provincial survey as it relates to the question of regulations and
legislation. Some of the issues that we raised at meetings in Ottawa
last week surround the need for public education, the impact on and
cost of training, and our concerns about impaired driving and personal
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MAP posted-by: Matt