Pubdate: Thu, 26 Oct 2017
Source: News, The (New Glasgow, CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 Transcontinental Inc.
Author: Sam MacDonald
Page: A1


Mayors call for more support for cannabis legalization

New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks was one of a group of Atlantic mayors
who want a stronger voice when it comes to decisions around the
legalization of marijuana.

She and the other community leaders associated with the Atlantic
Mayors' Congress believe municipalities in the region need more
support and information as the legalization of marijuana in Canada

While attending the Atlantic Mayors' Congress meeting from Oct. 18 to
20, Dicks signed a joint resolution requesting that the provincial and
federal governments co-operate with municipalities in Atlantic Canada
to prepare for the legalization of marijuana.

The resolution was created at the meeting to ensure that
municipalities are taken into full partnership with the other levels
of government, Dicks said, when making decisions and receiving
information on how the laws will change to accommodate

"Our resolution was asking that both the federal and provincial
governments ensure representation from all three united levels of
government," said Dicks. "Municipalities haven't been involved enough,
and haven't been given enough time, with the timeline of July 2018
(for legalization of marijuana)."

The resolution said that municipalities already face increasing costs
for public safety, which "are a disproportionate burden on our budgets."

Dicks said cannabis legalization will directly impact municipal
budgets, adding that "since municipalities have such a large stake in
public safety, this will come at a cost to their own budgets.
Municipalities must be involved in this, and in the planning of this."

Dicks sees a need for more money to be available to municipalities, to
deal with the costs associated with policing that will inevitably arise.

"Public safety is the responsibility of municipalities, and with the
legalization of cannabis - that's a major concern," said Dicks.
"Municipalities cover the cost of policing and, in turn, we need
funding available for them.

Even training officers to be able to enforce new laws relating to
cannabis will be expensive and could be a strain on local economies,
she noted.

Another point the resolution urged is the need for more thorough
discussion, planning and decision-making. There will be an increase in
the number of municipal responsibilities associated with enforcing
cannabis-related laws. There will also be a need for extensive
planning and preparation to respond to the anticipated community
changes accompanying legalization.

Although there are certain limits for alcohol, Dicks and the other
Atlantic mayors want to see similar laws in place with certainty for
marijuana, as well as the fact that "there are concerns with edibles,
and those kinds of things, too," another segment of the legal changes
that needs more certainty.

"Another large concern is age," Dicks said. "What is the legal age to
use marijuana going to be? It hasn't been determined yet. All of these
things are significant for any community."
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