Pot plans

Leg­is­la­tion on de­tails such as the age of con­sump­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion likely com­ing in the spring, says Premier Wade MacLauch­lan

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY RYAN ROSS

P.E.I. will likely see leg­is­la­tion in the spring to get the prov­ince ready for mar­i­juana le­gal­iza­tion, says Premier Wade MacLauch­lan.

MacLauch­lan re­cently re­turned from Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion meet­ings in Ed­mon­ton where Ot­tawa’s plan to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana was dis­cussed.

The most likely sce­nario for P.E.I. is that in the spring leg­isla­tive ses­sion the gov­ern­ment will in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to deal with is­sues like the age of con­sump­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion.

“The de­ci­sions would need to be made be­fore that,” he said.

Re­gion­ally, MacLauch­lan said the Mar­itime prov­inces are work­ing on a com­mon ap­proach to the le­gal age of con­sump­tion and how mar­i­juana will be dis­trib­uted.

Na­tion­ally, the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries have formed a work­ing group to look at sev­eral is­sues, in­clud­ing public safety and public health.

That work­ing group will also deal with is­sues around sup­ply, price and dis­tri­bu­tion.

All of the changes will have to be made be­fore le­gal­iza­tion in July 2018.

MacLauch­lan said there will be con­sul­ta­tions in P.E.I. for peo­ple to give feed­back on the le­gal age of con­sump­tion.

“Re­ally, I think it is to go at it with a view to it be­ing the same age, cer­tainly in the three Mar­itime prov­inces and ide­ally the four At­lantic prov­inces,” he said.

When it comes to dis­tri­bu­tion, MacLauch­lan said the first ques­tion will be whether it is through public or pri­vate means and if it will be through the same lo­ca­tions where al­co­hol is sold.

“This will have to be de­cided over the course of the com­ing months,” he said.

MacLauch­lan said the provin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial work­ing group will re­lease its re­port by the first of Novem­ber.

The public aware­ness com­po­nent will take longer, MacLauch­lan said.

“What choices peo­ple make and what the health is­sues are.”

When it comes to driv­ers im­paired by mar­i­juana, MacLauch­lan said there aren’t enough peo­ple in the prov­ince who can give ev­i­dence that will lead to a con­vic­tion and more will have to be trained.

“That’s def­i­nitely some­thing that needs to take place.”

MacLauch­lan said public ed­u­ca­tion on the dan­gers of con­sum­ing mar­i­juana and driv­ing will be a big part of le­gal­iza­tion — for peo­ple to re­al­ize that if you’re con­sum­ing mar­i­juana and driv­ing you’re im­paired,” he said.

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