Councillor speaks on province’s survey
Many unanswered questions remain with regards to forthcoming legislation
Reactions are coming in from a number of quarters after the provincial government released the results of its survey on marijuana on Thursday.
Specifically, the government asked how cannabis should be sold and regulated once it is legalized in July. Acting deputy mayor and city councillor for the City of Moose Jaw Crystal Froese said it is good the province is reaching out to residents.
“I am glad to see that the province is engaging our citizens in a survey,” she said.
The councillor added that the legalization of marijuana is one that will have a large impact on the city and community and that she was happy to see some of the trends that came to light. One of those questions was about where people should be allowed to light up.
“I am very pleased to see that 50 per cent of respondents said they want it to be prohibited in public spaces,” she said, adding that this sentiment is reflected in wider opinions about cigarette smoking in general.
There were some numbers in the survey that Froese found to be surprising; in particular, the ones showing that people felt the age to purchase should be 19, the same as it is for alcohol.
“I guess I was kind of surprised about that, just because that is a bit of health issue,” she said.
The survey also made it clear that people in Saskatchewan feel there should a zero tolerance policy for people who are driving while high and that such an offence should not bear more severe consequences than drunk driving. For Froese, the numbers on how the public feels about enforcement bring up some major issues that the city will be facing in the future.
“That speaks to having enough resources for our police officers here in the city, how are we going to go about affording that,” she said.
Froese said the city has questions about where the money will come from to give the police the tools they need to make sure people are not driving while impaired by cannabis.
“How are we going to afford any type of equipment to look after that?” she said.
There are also questions about providing training to police officers so they know how to recognize people who are impaired. With the provincial government having yet to pass legislation or signal what will be coming down in terms of rules, Froese said this leaves the city in limbo about how to proceed.
“We’re still waiting to hear from the province on determining regulation,” she said.
Along with police enforcement, the city would also have to create or modify bylaws in order to accommodate the new industry. There are also questions about how the taxes collected on the sale of cannabis will be distributed between the different levels of government.
“Where does that money go?” Froese asked.