Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Solomon Israel
Page: A3


'That doesn't mean I like it,' Pallister says

PREMIER Brian Pallister said Manitoba is "ahead of most other
provinces" when it comes to preparing for federal legalization of
cannabis by July 1.

"That doesn't mean I like it,"he added at a press conference Tuesday
afternoon. "I'm going to continue to express my concerns about the
rapidity of this change; this is a significant change."

The provincial government will unveil its approach to cannabis
legalization "over the course of the next few weeks," Manitoba Justice
Minister Heather Stefanson said.

The provincial government shared some preliminary results from its
online pre-budget consultation survey, which asks respondents about
how the province should approach cannabis legalization, among other

As of Monday, the government had received more than 18,000 responses
to the survey. So far, the questions about cannabis legalization have
received the greatest proportion of responses, with 71 per cent of
respondents answering.

The early survey results suggest the majority of Manitobans believe
the legal age for cannabis consumption should be the same as that for
alcohol consumption, with 75 per cent expressing that opinion. Asked
to choose between five age options for legally consuming marijuana
(18, 19, 21, 25, or older) 60.1 per cent said the age for legal
marijuana use should be 18. The

Pnext most popular response was 21, chosen by 22.4 per cent of
respondents. "What that tells me is that a significant number of
Manitobans are concerned about young people getting involved and
engaging with cannabis and the harmful effects, potentially, from a
health perspective," Stefanson said.

The survey also asks respondents whether they think the price of legal
cannabis "should be kept high or low?"

So far, 83.2 per cent of respondents have said prices should be kept

"We're going to have to have a low price," Pallister said. "I'm glad
to see Manitobans recognize the need to get the gangs out, get
organized crime out. And I would say anyone who talks about raising
millions of dollars by legalization of pot has a premature opinion
that hasn't been formed based on research."

The potential social costs of cannabis legalization, he said, are
still unknown.

"The federal government's rushing ahead with a negotiation on a
commission-split on a deal that hasn't even been closed," Pallister

"They have no idea what the real consequences are. All we know for
sure is that the lion's share of the heavy lifting will be done at the
provincial level... so this argument that there's somehow some pot of
gold at the end of the pot train is a mistake to make, and it's
premature at best and ill-advised, certainly, as well."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt