HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Province Seeks Feedback On Recreational Pot
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Sep 2017
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 The StarPhoenix
Author: Morgan Modjeski
Page: A4


No decision yet on whether marijuana sales will be through government

Saskatchewan's provincial government wants suggestions from the public
on how to regulate recreational marijuana, since legalization appears
to be a high priority for the federal government.

Residents over the age of 18 are encouraged to take an anonymous
survey on the Government of Saskatchewan's website between Sept. 8 and
Oct. 6.

Provincial attorney general Don Morgan said the federal government's
timeline to have a legalized system in place by the end of June 2018
means the provincial government has to act fast.

While having a government-run distribution model through the
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority hasn't been ruled out, it
does present challenges, he said.

"The argument against doing it would be that you're selling two
intoxicants in one place," Morgan said.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense to try and layer it on. You'd rather
have a separate measure of control, but we haven't made a final decision."

Morgan said the government is looking for insight on several aspects
of recreational marijuana, including age restrictions, retail models,
taxation and modified impaired driving laws.

The province wants "as much consistency across the country" as
possible, and ministry officials are working with other jurisdictions
examining similar legislation, he said.

On Friday, the Ontario government announced it will develop a new
branch of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to oversee marijuana

Morgan said Saskatchewan has asked the federal government for a
one-year extension, but will try to meet Ottawa's deadline, noting it
may mean putting interim legislation in place.

Several medical marijuana dispensaries are already operating in
Saskatchewan. Morgan said it's possible they could apply to become
legitimate outlets if the province decides to take a privatemarket
route, however, he said that will be unlikely if the province takes a
public approach.

"That's a decision that has not yet been made and that's something
that we'd welcome comments from citizens on," he said.

Once the consultation is complete, Morgan said the government will
likely release legislation for review, noting it will probably be
debated on the floor of the legislature in the spring session.

Dale Tesarowski, executive director of corporate initiatives with the
Ministry of Justice, said work is already underway at the federal
level to develop tests and technology to determine if someone is
impaired by drugs while driving.

However, he noted it could take some time before those methods are
approved and acquired by municipal police forces.

"It's a huge, huge undertaking," he said.

"And it's one I know our municipalities and police services are
concerned about because it's an expensive undertaking."
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