Pre­miers want more clar­ity from feds on le­gal­iz­ing cannabis

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

Canada’s pre­miers say the fed­eral gov­ern­ment needs to more fully an­swer ques­tions sur­round­ing the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis or they will need more time to get their rules in place.

Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley told the clos­ing news con­fer­ence at the lead­ers’ an­nual sum­mer meet­ing in Ed­mon­ton that there are five ar­eas that need to be clar­i­fied.

They in­clude road safety and en­force­ment, prepa­ra­tion and train­ing on dis­tri­bu­tion, tax­a­tion, pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, and sup­ply and de­mand and how that might af­fect the black mar­ket.

“Pre­miers around this ta­ble agreed that should the fed­eral gov­ern­ment not en­gage ad­e­quately on these is­sues, we will need more time to im­ple­ment the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion,” Not­ley said Wednes­day.

Ot­tawa has said it will pass leg­is­la­tion to make recre­ational pot le­gal next July 1, but it will be up to the prov­inces to de­cide on de­tails such as how it will be dis­trib­uted and sold, where it will be al­lowed and what the min­i­mum buyer’s age should be.

Not­ley did not sug­gest how much of a de­lay the prov­inces might be seek­ing.

“We’ll work to the dead­line, but as things stand right now, there is work that also needs to be done by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in or­der for us to meet it. It has not yet been done.”

The pre­miers have struck a work­ing group to seek an­swers from Ot­tawa and to pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions by Novem­ber on how to move for­ward.

Man­i­toba Premier Brian Pal­lis­ter sug­gested Tues­day that the unan­swered ques­tions re­quire the law be de­layed by one year.

He did not ref­er­ence that time­line at the clos­ing news con­fer­ence, but de­scribed the task of cannabis le­gal­iza­tion as a “mon­u­men­tal un­der­tak­ing.”

He said all the lead­ers have con­cerns about le­gal­ized cannabis that need to be ad­dressed and “we have one chance to get it right.”

“The prime min­is­ter wants to stick to his dead­line. That’s su­per-duper,” Pal­lis­ter said.

“He needs to then hear what the pre­miers of his coun­try, our coun­try, have said we need help with.”

Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau was asked at a stop in Que­bec City if there is any flex­i­bil­ity to the July 1 dead­line. He replied that the goal is still to have the law passed by next sum­mer.

He said right now young peo­ple have easy ac­cess to mar­i­juana when they shouldn’t and crim­i­nals and streets gangs are mak­ing mil­lions through il­le­gal sales.

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