UCPR WORRIES OVER NEW MA­RI­JUA­NA LAW

Tribune Express - - ACTUALITIES - NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

Ma­ri­jua­na be­comes le­gal in Ca­na­da in mid-Oc­to­ber and the mayors of Pres­cott and Rus­sell coun­ties still wonder what that is going to mean for day-to-day life in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Coun­ties coun­cil mem­bers spent about half an hour du­ring their Wed­nes­day mor­ning ses­sion lis­ting concerns they had about the fe­de­ral go­vern­ment’s le­ga­li­za­tion of re­crea­tio­nal ma­ri­jua­na use, which takes ef­fect in mid-Oc­to­ber. One concern is whe­ther or not ma­king re­crea­tio­nal ma­ri­jua­na le­gal will have any se­rious fi­nan­cial im­pact on or­ga­ni­zed crime.

«Even if ma­ri­jua­na be­comes le­gal,» said Mayor Ga­ry Bar­ton of Cham­plain Town­ship, «the ‘black mar­ket’ will find a way to make a pro­fit.»

Mayors on coun­ties coun­cil al­so dis­cus­sed whe­ther or not mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties will have a say about any plans to set up go­vern­ment or pri­vate sec­tor ma­ri­jua­na re­tail out­lets in their areas, the im­pact on po­li­cing costs for dea­ling with people who may drive while in­toxi­ca­ted from smo­king ma­ri­jua­na, and other is­sues. UCPR Chief Ad­mi­nis­tra­tor Sté­phane Pa­ri­sien no­ted that there are fe­de­ral and pro­vin­cial laws that deal with al­co­hol abuse and there will be si­mi­lar laws to deal with ma­ri­jua­na abuse.

A recent an­noun­ce­ment from the new Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive go­vern­ment in­di­cates that re­crea­tio­nal smo­king of ma­ri­jua­na in pu­blic will fol­low the same pro­vin­cial re­gu­la­tions that deal with smo­king to­bac­co in pu­blic.

«I’m sure that there will be a lot of com­plaints about ‘the neigh­bour next door’,» said At­tor­ney Ge­ne­ral Ca­ro­line Mun­ro du­ring a Sep­tem­ber 26 news confe­rence with pro­vin­cial me­dia, «but we’re ali­gning with the Smoke Free On­ta­rio Act.»

The new le­gis­la­tion for pu­blic ma­ri­jua­na smo­king would in­clude a ban on smo­king wi­thin nine metres of pu­blic buil­dings or wi­thin 20 metres of chil­dren’s play areas, in­clu­ding school yards. The go­vern­ment will al­so look at spe­cial exemp­tions to al­low ma­ri­jua­na use in de­si­gna­ted ho­tel rooms and in long-term care fa­ci­li­ties.

The pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment al­so an­noun­ced it will not li­mit the num­ber of stores al­lo­wed to sell ma­ri­jua­na. But li­cen­sed gro­wers of ma­ri­jua­na will be li­mi­ted to just one store of their own at a de­si­gna­ted On­ta­rio ma­ri­jua­na pro­duc­tion site. The Al­co­hol and Ga­ming Com­mis­sion of On­ta­rio will re­gu­late pri­vate-sec­tor sale out­lets.

This has re­sul­ted in spe­cu­la­tion that ma­jor com­pa­nies may aban­don plans for large-scale re­tail ma­ri­jua­na out­lets. The re­tail pri­va­ti­za­tion po­li­cy aban­dons the ori­gi­nal plan of the for­mer Li­be­ral pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment to give the Li­quor Con­trol Board of On­ta­rio an ex­clu­sive mo­no­po­ly on re­crea­tio­nal ma­ri­jua­na sales. Pri­vate sec­tor out­lets will be res­pon­sible for ma­king sure not to sell ma­ri­jua­na to anyone un­der the age of 19.

The pro­vince has al­so set a Ja­nua­ry 22, 2019 dead­line for mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties to de­cide if they want to ban ma­ri­jua­na re­tail stores from their areas al­to­ge­ther. The pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment’s new po­li­cies dea­ling with le­ga­li­zed ma­ri­jua­na sales and pu­blic smo­king should be in place by April 1, 2019. Un­til then, le­gal ma­ri­jua­na sales in On­ta­rio will be li­mi­ted to on­line pur­cha­sing through a pro­vin­cial go­vern­ment-run web­site.

—ar­chives

La lé­ga­li­sa­tion de la ma­ri­jua­na à des fins ré­créa­tives au­ra lieu à la mioc­tobre. Le conseil des Com­tés unis de Pres­cott et Rus­sell s’in­quiète tou­jours de la fa­çon dont le gou­ver­ne­ment pro­vin­cial en­vi­sage de gé­rer la vente et l’uti­li­sa­tion lé­gales de la ma­ri­jua­na en On­ta­rio et de la fa­çon dont ce­la af­fec­te­ra les mu­ni­ci­pa­li­tés.

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