Pot talk on the agenda as jus­tice min­is­ters meet

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - NATIONAL NEWS - GEORDON OMAND

VAN­COU­VER — Mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion is top­ping a packed agenda as Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould sits down with her pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial coun­ter­parts for two days of meet­ings in Van­cou­ver.

B.C. So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Mike Farn­worth said he hopes the gath­er­ing, which be­gan Thurs­day, of­fers more clar­ity around how the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­tends to make good on its am­bi­tious time­line to le­gal­ize pot by next sum­mer.

“Ob­vi­ously, I think the July time frame is a chal­lenge,” he said. “But right now that’s the time­line, that’s the time frame that we’re work­ing to­wards.”

Farn­worth said he also wants to get a bet­ter sense of what other prov­inces are ar­rang­ing be­cause of the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing cer­tain mar­i­juana laws are con­sis­tent across the coun­try.

On­tario Jus­tice Min­is­ter Yasir Naqvi de­scribed the time­line as tight but added that his prov­ince is work­ing with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on pre­par­ing for le­gal­iza­tion.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has come un­der fire for what ap­pears to be a hands-off ap­proach to reg­u­lat­ing the sale and polic­ing of mar­i­juana once it be­comes le­gal on Canada Day 2018.

Brian Pat­ter­son, head of the pub­lic safety group On­tario Safety League, said he is shocked by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to what is an un­re­al­is­tic, po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated dead­line that will put Cana­di­ans at risk.

The group re­leased a po­si­tion pa­per ear­lier this month ti­tled “Too Far, Too Fast” urg­ing the gov­ern­ment DAR­RYL DYCK/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Fed­eral Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jody Wil­son-Ray­bould, cen­tre left, is flanked by Deputy Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Nathalie Drouin, left, and Al­berta Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Kath­leen Gan­ley, right, at the start of a meet­ing of fed­eral, pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial min­is­ters re­spon­si­ble for jus­tice and pub­lic safety, in Van­cou­ver, B.C., on Thurs­day.

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