Pubdate: Tue, 05 Dec 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Solomon Israel
Page: A3


MANITOBANS will have to be at least 19 years of age to legally
purchase and possess cannabis in the province after it is legalized,
the Free Press has learned.

The minimum age will be part of a new bill to be introduced today at
the Manitoba Legislative Building, according to a government source
familiar with the matter.

According to the legislature's Monday notice paper, Justice Minister
Heather Stefanson is scheduled to introduce the Safe and Responsible
Retailing of Cannabis Act.

The federal government's Cannabis Act, which is not yet law, would set
the federal minimum age for purchase and possession of marijuana at
18. Provincial and territorial governments are free to raise that age.

Setting the legal age for purchasing cannabis at 19 would bring
Manitoba in line with Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and
Labrador, which have also chosen 19 as the legal age to buy cannabis.

Quebec and Alberta, however, plan to set their legal age for cannabis
at 18.

The legal age to purchase alcohol in Manitoba is 18.

Meanwhile, the federal government is willing to give provinces and
territories a bigger share of the revenue from a federal excise tax on
cannabis, provided the extra money is devoted to helping
municipalities cope with the impact of legalizing recreational pot.

The feds have proposed giving provincial and territorial governments
half of the estimated $1-billion annual excise tax take once marijuana
becomes legal next July. However, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and
his officials have signalled a willingness to increase that share
during discussions with their provincial and territorial

The discussions have been taking place in preparation for a meeting of
federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers Dec. 10-11,
where the issue of cannabis taxation is expected to be front and centre.

Any increase in the provincial share will obviously mean less for
federal coffers. But precisely how much less than the 50 per cent the
federal government is willing to accept has not yet been revealed.

A government official close to the discussions, who was not authorized
to speak publicly about the matter, said it's too early to float
specific numbers. The final decision will rest on an assessment of the
needs of the municipalities - and a willingness by provinces and
territories to agree to devote the extra revenue to those needs, the
official said.

- - with files from The Canadian Press
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