Pubdate: Fri, 24 Nov 2017
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 The StarPhoenix
Author: D.C. Fraser
Page: A3


Province gauges views in survey

Saskatchewan residents believe the legal age of consumption for
cannabis should be 19, according to the results of the provincial
government's online survey.

More than 45 per cent of the 25,974 responses to the question of legal
age believe the province should make the legal age of marijuana
consumption match the legal age of alcohol consumption in the
province, while 27.5 per cent believe the legal age should be 18. Some
18.9 per cent of respondents believe the age should be set at 21 and
7.8 per cent believe the legal age should be over 21.

Attorney General Don Morgan said there is no decision made on the age
of consumption yet. Instead, he said the Saskatchewan Party government
will spend some time making a decision.

Already the province has spent considerable time contemplating the
impending legalization of cannabis on July 1. Saskatchewan and other
provinces asked the federal government for more time to prepare,
despite the move being telegraphed for several years.

The federal Liberals campaigned on the issue in the 2014 election.
After they won a majority government, they stated their intent to
legalize cannabis before 2019, before tabling legislation allowing for
just that earlier this year.

Morgan said there is draft legislation being worked on. Asked if
legislation would be seen before the session ends on Dec. 6, he said
there was a "good chance" but left the door open for further delay.

The online survey, which received a total of 34,681 responses from
Sept. 8 to Oct. 6, produced even less mixed results when it came to
the issue of municipal oversight.

About 57 per cent of respondents strongly disagree or disagree with
municipalities getting the option to pass bylaws to more strictly
regulate cannabis. Only 29 per cent said they agreed or strongly
agreed with cities passing stricter bylaws.

The results show that safety is a concern for the majority of
Saskatchewan residents when it comes to marijuana, specifically in the
workplace and on the roads.

More than 52 per cent strongly agree that there should be zero
tolerance for cannabis or other impairing drugs for commercial
drivers; 20.4 per cent said they agree. That left about 15 per cent of
respondents who disagree or strongly disagree with zero tolerance for
drug impairment for commercial drivers.

That sentiment carried over. Nearly 60 per cent said they agree or
strongly agree with zero tolerance for cannabis or any other impairing
drugs for any drivers, no matter their age or licence status.

As for punishment, more than 65 per cent of respondents agree or
strongly agree that the same penalties for alcohol-impaired driving
(including licence suspension, fines, and vehicle seizures) should
apply to drug-impaired driving. About 25 per cent said they disagree
or strongly disagree.

- - With files from Austin Davis
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt