Pubdate: Tue, 01 May 2018
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Toronto Star
Author: Mia Rabson


OTTAWA - A Senate committee says Ottawa should put off legalizing
marijuana for a year until Canada and First Nations can negotiate tax
sharing, produce culturally appropriate education materials and ensure
First Nations are able to regulate for themselves whether they want
pot to be legal in their communities or not.

The Senate Aboriginal Peoples committee released a report Tuesday
after studying the impact the government's legalizing pot bill could
have on Indigenous communities.

While Ottawa plans to make pot legal sometime this summer, the
committee says Indigenous

Marijuana debate leaves First Nations weighing pros and cons

First Nations look to 'tremendous potential' of marijuana

It cited as its main concerns "an alarming lack of consultation" with
Indigenous communities in developing the bill, evidence there are no
culturally appropriate educational materials ready to ensure
Indigenous peoples understand the new law, or appropriate addictions
and mental health programming available.

The committee also said it didn't agree with Justice Department
officials who argued the Criminal Code, Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act and the Cannabis Act will override any bylaws passed by
individual First Nations that would bar or otherwise restrict the use
and sale of marijuana on reserves. First Nations have the right to
enact bylaws and many already do regarding alcohol sales to the point
some reserves bar the presence of alcohol entirely. However, justice
officials argued bylaws on pot wouldn't stand up in court against
federal legalization laws.

The committee was also concerned with a lack of clarity around
taxation of cannabis on reserves. First Nations deserve an economic
share of pot taxes said the committee and it is one of several things
the committee says Ottawa has to put in place before pot becomes legal.

This committee is the latest voice calling for Ottawa to delay its
marijuana legalization plan, with everyone from premiers to police
asking for more time to prepare. Earlier this week the Canadian Real
Estate Association told the Senate social affairs committee it wanted
to put the brakes on allowing people to grow pot at home until the
government can better regulate it to prevent property damage and
higher risks of crime and fires.

The cannabis bill would allow individuals to grow up to four pot
plants at home as long as they are below a certain height, but
association CEO Michael Bourque says there are too many risks from
home grow-ops that haven't been addressed yet.
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MAP posted-by: Matt