Clear regulations needed for medical, recreational marijuana: Wynne

TORONTO -- Ontario is looking for federal government guidance on regulating clinics that sell medical marijuana and on how pot should be sold for recreational use once it's legalized.

See Full Article

The federal Liberals promised in this month's throne speech to "legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana" to keep it out of the hands of children while also denying criminals the financial profits.

The new government plans to remove possession of small amounts of marijuana from the Criminal Code and create new laws to more severely punish those who provide it to minors or drive while under its influence.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says there hasn't been enough discussion about the distinctions between medicinal and recreational marijuana, which is one reason she suggested Ontario's government-run liquor stores would be well-suited to retailing legalized pot.

"The reason I put forward the LCBO as the possible distribution network is that I want to make it clear that I see the need for a socially responsible approach to this," Wynne told The Canadian Press in a year-end interview.

"I think that this needs to be a controlled substance -- and I don't use that in a technical way -- but there need to be controls on it, and so I will be looking to the federal government to work with us to determine what those controls need to be."

There are dozens of clinics or dispensaries springing up in cities across Canada that sell medicinal marijuana -- mainly in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia -- and there are referral-only clinics staffed with doctors who assess patients but don't sell pot. They give patients a prescription to take to a licensed marijuana producer.

Canada needs national standards and regulations for the marijuana clinics, said Wynne.

"Not all marijuana is going to be medicinal, so we've got to make distinctions between a clinic that is providing medicinal marijuana and what the recreational distribution is going to be," she said. "I just don't think we're there yet."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to create a task force with representatives from the three levels of government and, with input from experts in public health, substance abuse and policing, to help design a new system of marijuana sales and distribution.

Trudeau stressed the importance of listening to municipal partners, provinces and the medical marijuana industry, as well as drawing on best practices from around the world.

"We are going to get this right in a way that suits Canadians broadly, and specifically in their communities."

Trudeau also said any tax revenues from legal marijuana should go towards addiction treatment, mental health support and education programs -- not general revenues.

"It was never about a money-maker," he said.

Wynne isn't the only one looking for a socially responsible way to retail marijuana.

The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union and the B.C. Private Liquor Store Association joined forces to call for legal marijuana to be sold through their existing retail system, which includes about 200 private and 200 government-run stores.

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said the union did not take a position on whether it supports the plan to legalize marijuana, "but we do believe that when this happens, it ought to be sold in the most socially responsible way possible, in an age-controlled environment with the strongest track record of checking identification."

Expectations are changing fast in Ontario, which only last week updated its liquor laws to allow the sale of six-packs of beer in selected grocery stores. Minutes after Wynne made the announcement, she was asked why grocers couldn't also sell pot.

"I don't know what the federal government is going to bring forward, but we will work with them to make sure there are parameters of social responsibility around marijuana."

Ontario had to back off plans to ban the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping everywhere that smoking tobacco is prohibited, which it planned to implement Jan. 1, after medical marijuana users noted they would be exempted from the regulation.

"We know that we're going need to bring in regulation and possibly legislation to make sure that all the rules that apply to smoking cigarettes, tobacco, will apply to smoking marijuana, whether it's medicinal or otherwise," said Wynne.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Camaro caught speeding at 192 km/h in N.S. school zone

    Canada News CTV News
    RCMP in Nova Scotia had to wait for a white Camaro to stop for gas before they were able to catch up with the driver, who is accused of travelling at 192 km/h in a school zone and ignoring officers’ requests to pull over. Source
  • Mueller examining Cambridge Analytica, Trump campaign ties

    World News CTV News
    Mueller examining Cambridge Analytica, Trump campaign ties Fed up with Facebook? Here's how to break it off Facebook's Zuckerberg sorry for 'major breach of trust' Source
  • Powerful image of Afghan woman nursing baby while taking university exam goes viral

    World News CTV News
    An inspiring photo of a young Afghan woman nursing her child while taking a university entrance exam has struck a chord with people around the world. Jahan Taab was completing a test to gain entry into the social sciences program at Nasirkhosraw Higher Education Institute in Afghanistan’s central Daykundi province on March 16, according to Yahya Erfan, a lecturer who was monitoring the exam. Source
  • John Dowd resigning from Trump's legal team

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's lead lawyer in the special counsel's Russia investigation has resigned amid a shake-up of the president's legal team. Attorney John Dowd confirmed his decision in an email Thursday to The Associated Press, saying, "I love the President and wish him well. Source
  • Former South Korea president Lee Myung-bak arrested on corruption charges

    World News CBC News
    South Korean ex-president Lee Myung-bak was arrested and jailed early Friday over a range of corruption allegations, becoming the latest in a series of disgraced leaders embroiled in scandals and other problems after leaving office. A convoy of vehicles, including a black sedan carrying Lee, entered a detention centre in Seoul after the Seoul Central District Court approved his arrest warrant, citing what it called serious alleged crimes and a possibility that he might try to destroy…
  • Pod of dolphins further enclosed by ice in N.L. harbour: Fisheries

    Canada News CTV News
    HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. -- Concern was mounting in a small Newfoundland community where a pod of dolphins became further hemmed in by ice Thursday, pushing the wayward mammals closer to shore and shrinking their small opening in the ice. Source
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 16 times bigger than previously estimated, study finds

    World News CBC News
    A new study involving scientists from around the world suggests there are more than 79,000 tonnes of ocean plastic in a 1.6 million square kilometre area of the North Pacific Ocean, often referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Source
  • Invitations sent out for Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle

    World News CTV News
    The invites are in the mail. Kensington Palace says approximately 600 people have been sent formal invitations to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which is slated to take place at St. Source
  • Students at deadly Florida school shooting required to use clear backpacks upon return

    World News CBC News
    When Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students return from spring break, they'll be required by the local school district to use clear backpacks and wear identification badges at all times. Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told parents in a two-page letter about the security changes. Source
  • British PM urges EU unity against Russia as Kremlin slams U.K.

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- British Prime Minister Theresa May urged European Union leaders on Thursday to unite and condemn Russia for not respecting international rules or borders, while Moscow slammed the U.K. as untrustworthy in its investigation of the poisoning of a former spy. Source