Pubdate: Thu, 23 Nov 2017
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Authors: Jim Bronskill and Kristy Kirkup
Page: A8


Police and Courts

OTTAWA - Alberta's premier says she's worried that marijuana
legalization could drive up policing and court bills her province
cannot afford to pay.

The justice system is already overburdened and enforcing new
pot-related measures could make things worse, Rachel Notley warned in
an interview with The Canadian Press.

Notley said she was surprised by the recent federal proposal to levy
an excise tax on recreational marijuana once it becomes legal next
July, with the provinces and territories receiving just half the revenue.

Alberta and other provinces have already expressed displeasure about
the sharing plan, saying they should get the bulk of the revenues to
cover their costs. The issue will resurface at a meeting of federal,
provincial and territorial finance ministers next month.

It is not reasonable to make the provinces do most of "cost-based
heavy lifting" on implementing the new cannabis regime "with only a
portion of the taxation," Notley said.

The federal government says legalizing recreational use will help keep
marijuana out of the hands of young people while denying profits to
criminal organizations. But it acknowledges the need to train and
equip police to better deal with the phenomenon of drugged driving.

The Trudeau government has earmarked just over $274 million to support
policing and border efforts associated with legalized pot, with some
of the money to be made available to the provinces.

There are still many unanswered questions, including around
enforcement, Notley said.

"The issue with enforcement is if we don't get it right what we do is
we drive up policing and court costs quite significantly," she said.

"The justice system is stretched, and so to inject something like this
in without a clear understanding of how we're going to prosecute those
things that we're being asked to enforce could really drive a lot of

Cannabis producers, meanwhile, say they want clarity on future
regulations for the country's recreational pot regime, noting they
need to make critical decisions now on everything from fonts to layout
for future packages.

The federal government released a nearly 70-page consultation document
late Tuesday that shed more light on proposed regulations including
strict limitations for colour, graphs and font size for products.

In the document, Health Canada also proposed mandatory health warnings
similar to those on tobacco products.

It will be open to public input for 60 days.

A Health Canada official said Wednesday the department is looking at
creating standardized requirements for all packages and labels for
cannabis products while it also allows the industry some space to
provide consumer information as part of efforts to undercut the black
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