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Sask putting laws in place to prepare for pot legalization

July 9, 2018 7:52 am
The World-Spectator


With marijuana set to become legal in October, the Saskatchewan government is putting rules in place to regulate where and when cannabis can be consumed in Saskatchewan.

The government of Saskatchewan has amended regulations to allow for the ticketing of numerous offences under The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act.

Ticket amounts will range from $200 up to a maximum of $2,250 depending on the offence.

Passing of these regulations is another step toward the legalization of cannabis in Canada.

Offences subject to ticketing will include:

A $200 ticket for possessing or distributing more than 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public place;

A $200 ticket for consuming cannabis in a public place;

A $1,000 ticket for consuming cannabis at school, on school grounds or at a child care facility;

A $300 ticket if a minor is caught purchasing, possessing, consuming, or selling cannabis;

A $750 ticket for anyone caught selling or giving cannabis to a minor;

A $2,250 ticket if a permittee or employee of a retail cannabis location fails to demand proof of age and/or if a permittee sells or distributes cannabis to a minor;

A $300 ticket for possessing, consuming or distributing cannabis in a vehicle, which will not apply if someone is transporting cannabis from a legal point of purchase to a legal point of consumption; and

A $200 ticket for possessing or consuming cannabis in a campground when a cannabis prohibition is in effect.

These new regulations that apply to cannabis are similar to current rules regarding alcohol. The ticketing rules for cannabis under The Summary Offences Procedure (Miscellaneous) Amendment Regulations, 2018, will not come into force until The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act is proclaimed this fall.

These regulations follow the release earlier this year of the Saskatchewan Cannabis Framework, which outlines a plan for the legal and responsible distribution, sale and use of cannabis in the province.

The federal government has indicated cannabis will be legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. Until that time, current laws and rules apply and cannabis for recreational purposes remains illegal.

Sgt Scott Fefchak of the Moosomin RCMP says he is happy with the clarity of the provincial regulations on cannabis.

id Friday. “I would compare it to the liquor offences—there is a certain amount of discretion involved. This makes it a lot easier to effectively have some sort of recourse with people with marijuana.

“A lot of the times right now, because every case has to go to court, instead of plugging up the court system even further for someone with a tiny bit of marijuana we don’t even bother because it’s not worth the time and the effort and the expense for the courts or the police to prosecute someone for this in court.

“Now it’s more like a speeding ticket or a liquor ticket.The officer will still be able to use discretion if need be or if it’s the right circumstance to not take any enforcement action for whatever reason, but I do like the part about near school grounds or child care facilities a $1,000 ticket, and I like the heavier fine for somebody from a retail place not asking for ID similar to tobacco or liquor. I think that’s important. I think the provincial legislation is very police friendly.”

He said police will have to familiarize themselves with the new legislation.

“Guys will be getting accustomed to it,” he said. “When we all graduated from the academy we were schooled in federal law and federal acts and this is a provincial law —based off a federal law—but it’s a provincial law and we all learn how to deal with provincial laws by working with people who are familiar with the legislation, and you find out what works and what doesn’t.

“It’s a process and an evolution. But I think this one will be pretty easy for police to adjust to because it is very similar to writing a ticket for open liquor or drinking where you're not supposed to—alcohol and tobacco related offences. It’s similar—it’s going to be along the same line as those.”

As well, the provincial government is asking for feedback on how to keep workers safe from the impacts of impairment in the workplace as the legalization date for cannabis approaches.

In the fall of 2017, the government of Saskatchewan conducted an online cannabis survey. The survey revealed the majority of respondents believe additional steps need to be taken to keep workers and workplaces safe.

Based on this feedback, the public and stakeholders are being asked to provide written submissions sharing their thoughts on how to address impairment in the workplace through possible legislative changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act and The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996.

“Being impaired at work is unacceptable, dangerous and illegal,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “With the introduction of the Cannabis Act, we are examining current legislation and will be making changes to ensure the safety of all workers. We are seeking input from workers and employers across the province.”

A consultation paper has been posted at www.saskatchewan.ca/government/public-consultations/consultation-on-impairment-in-the-workplace.

Written submissions can be sent via mail or email to labourlegislationLRWS@gov.sk.ca by August 31, 2018.


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