Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jan 2018
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The StarPhoenix
Author: Phil Tank
Page: A1


Restrictions on smoking in Saskatoon should include marijuana once
legalization takes effect, and the province needs to release its plan
as soon as possible, a new city report says.

The report, which proposes possible areas that need to be addressed
once the Saskatchewan Party provincial government releases its
strategy, is on the agenda for a city council committee meeting on

"It is essential that the province's plan for cannabis be released as
soon as possible to ensure that any local regulations that city
council may wish to pursue are appropriate and relevant under the
provincial regime that will be put in place," the report says.

Premier Brad Well said at a news conference in Saskatoon on Thursday
that the province is working on the plan for marijuana legalization,
but suggested it will not be announced until his successor as Sask.
Party leader is chosen.

The party will choose its next leader and the new Saskatchewan premier
on Jan. 27. That will leave only five months before the federal
government's date of July 1 for recreational marijuana to become legal.

While Wall said he was willing to work with the federal government, he
criticized the July 1 date as an "arbitrary deadline" and decried a
"lack of sensitivity" by the federal government for provinces that
want more time to prepare.

"All provincial governments have had to spend an inordinate amount of
time on this issue," Wall said, questioning whether it's a priority
for Saskatchewan residents. Saskatchewan remains the only province
that has not announced a plan for marijuana legalization.

In the absence of a provincial plan, the report from the City of
Saskatoon administration is to be considered by council's planning,
development and community services committee on Monday. It suggests
expanding the existing smoking bylaw, which prohibits smoking in many
public places and private businesses, to include marijuana within the
definition of harmful second-hand smoke.

Depending on the model chosen by the province, the city has the right
to regulate business licensing and zoning. The province has indicated
it is not leaning toward becoming heavily involved in the retail sale
of marijuana.

The city report suggests a business licence fee higher than the
regular fee of $125 could be considered for cannabis retailers, to
cover the increased costs for the city for reviewing applications,
monitoring and enforcement.

The city has received inquiries from businesses hoping to sell
marijuana once it becomes legal, the report adds.

City hall could also consider restricting businesses that grow or
manufacture cannabis or cannabis products to industrial and
agricultural districts, the report says.

Wall said he prefers the legal age for marijuana consumption to be set
between 19 and 25, but will leave that to his successor. Seven of the
other nine provinces have set the legal age at 19, while Alberta and
Quebec have opted for 18.
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