Manitoba gov't has questions on pot legalization
September 13, 2017, 7:55 am
Manitoba will continue to seek further clarity from the federal government on how it plans to support provinces in the implementation of The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, while at the federal-provincial-territorial meeting of justice ministers from Sept. 13 to 15, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.
“Legalization of cannabis is a significant shift in public policy with many challenges for the provinces and territories to address,” said Stefanson. “A leading area of concern is road safety and enforcement mechanisms, which I anticipate will be a main point of discussion at our federal-provincial-territorial meetings in Vancouver this week.”
At the Council of the Federation (COF) meetings on July 17 to 19, provinces and territories agreed to establish a working group focused on key areas related to the legalization of cannabis. Stefanson was named co-chair of the working group, alongside Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley.
As indicated in a letter to co-chairs by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, chair of the COF meetings, those key areas are:
• implementation date;
• taxation and revenue;
• public education, training and research;
• regulation of cannabis;
• drug impaired driving; and
• production, distribution and commercialization.
“Our primary concern regarding the legalization of marijuana is the health and safety of Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “The federal government must recognize that rushing into something of this magnitude presents tremendous risks, which is why our working group will continue to seek clarity on federal support while provinces make progress on numerous policy areas related to Bill C-45.”
The Manitoba government recently concluded an expression of interest period on Sept. 8, which allowed industry in Manitoba to provide ideas and potential solutions for distribution, regulation and quality control. This EOI resulted in nearly 60 submissions, which are currently being evaluated by Manitoba’s Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade.