Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Dan Albas
Page: A6


Although the topic of the finance minister and his assets that were
not held in a blind trust, leaving a potential conflict of interest
investigation looming remains an active one in Ottawa, it will not be
the topic of this week's report.

Instead, I would like to solicit your thoughts on the pending
legalization of marijuana.

For those of you unfamiliar, the Liberals in the last election openly
campaigned on the legalization of marijuana. I raise that point as I
believe the Liberals received a democratic mandate from voters to move
ahead with marijuana legalization.

The intent of my column today is not to wade into ideological
discussion on this topic but rather to hear concerns that in turn can
be passed on in Ottawa.

Some of the concerns I have heard thus far are quite

 From landlords, I have heard that insurance will not cover rental
units where marijuana is present. From potentially approved and
legally licensed growers, I have heard concerns that they might be
illegally undercut by those selling marijuana with a higher THC
content under the table tax free. More recently, I have heard concerns
from food vendors that their products at a wholesale level might be
contaminated with marijuana and resold as edible marijuana potentially
creating a liability concern.

 From a law enforcement standpoint I have heard that it might be
difficult - if not impossible - to determine the point of origin
between legal and illegal marijuana.

Locally, NDP member of Parliament Richard Cannings (South Okanagan
West Kootenay) has raised another concern that chronic users of
marijuana may have higher THC levels in their blood that could subject
a user to be subject to potentially unfair criminal charges if
operating a vehicle.

Those who frequently cross the border have questioned what impact
legal marijuana use in Canada would have on someone crossing into the
United States. Local governments have asked about who will pay for
potentially higher policing costs while ultimately provinces will be
responsible for setting policy.

At this point, there are no answers to any of these concerns that have
been raised but given that the Liberal government has promised to
implement legalization in less than a year the answers will need to be
found relatively soon.

The above is only a small sampling of concerns that I have heard and
do not include comments around secondary smoke and smoking marijuana
in public places.

I have also heard many questions from educators on how to restrict
marijuana from teenagers given scientific evidence has shown potential
harm for brain development among youth if using marijuana.

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My question this week: what concerns do you have, if any, on the
legalization of marijuana? I can be reached at 1-800-665-8711  Dan Albas is member of Parliament for Central
Okanagan Similkameen Nicola, and member of the Conservative caucus.
This column appears weekly.
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