No bud for now

P.E.I. fi­nance min­is­ter ques­tioned on whether P.E.I. liquor stores could sell mar­i­juana once it is le­gal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

P.E.I. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Allen Roach says it’s far too early to con­tem­plate sell­ing mar­i­juana in Prince Ed­ward Is­land liquor stores.

“I’ll be hon­est with you, mar­i­juana be­ing sold any­where in P.E.I. is not on my agenda right now,” he told The Guardian.

“It’s pre­ma­ture to say we’re go­ing to do it at the liquor stores or through any other way of sell­ing it.”

Ear­lier this month, On­tario Premier Kath­leen Wynne sug­gested the fed­eral gov­ern­ment could use the On­tario liquor board as a mar­i­juana ven­dor if and when Ot­tawa legalizes sale of the drug in Canada. She is not alone. Man­i­toba Premier Greg Selinger has also said provin­cial liquor stores would be best suited to sell mar­i­juana if le­gal­iza­tion oc­curs, and of­fi­cials in Bri­tish Columbia are ac­tively push­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to al­low pri­vate liquor stores to sell the drug once it be­comes le­gal.

Prince Ed­ward Is­land is tak­ing a more wait-and-see ap­proach.

“At this point in time it’s not yet le­gal­ized. I’m not sure what the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s time frame and agenda is on that or how or when they in­tend on rolling it out, but I’m sure that there’s go­ing to be a lot of de­bate in Ot­tawa be­fore we get to that point,” Roach said.

As a for­mer RCMP of­fi­cer, Roach says he has long been a strong pro­po­nent of de­crim­i­nal­iz­ing mar­i­juana.

“I’ve seen enough over my time, and I’ve spent a lot of time in drug en­force­ment, and I’ve be­lieved for many years that pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana, for those very sim­ple pos­ses­sion charges, should have been de­crim­i­nal­ized,” he said.

“We have a lot of peo­ple who have ex­per­i­mented with mar­i­juana, they have a very small quan­tity on them, they’re try­ing it, it’s cu­rios­ity. And I felt that for some­one to have, let’s say, half a gram or a gram of mar­i­juana and for them to be charged and have a crim­i­nal record be­cause of that, I’ve al­ways felt that wasn’t per­haps nec­es­sary.”

In the mean­time, he says the prov­ince will watch what hap­pens in Ot­tawa and leave de­bate about how the drug would be legally dis­trib­uted and sold in P.E.I. un­til more de­fin­i­tive changes have been made at the fed­eral level.

“My own be­lief is that it’s way out in front of us at this time… I think we’ll have a lot of time in the in­terim to dis­cuss how it’s go­ing to be rolled out.”

AP PHOTO

The LivWell mar­i­juana chain’s out­lets in Colorado sell sev­eral brands of pot, in­clud­ing Leafs by Snoop. Rap­per Snoop Dogg is not the only celebrity with a mar­i­juana line as oth­ers, such as Wil­lie Nel­son and de­scen­dants of Bob Mar­ley, are scram­bling to brand and trade­mark pot prod­ucts in the in­dus­try as it be­comes part of the main­stream.

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