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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Saudis say they will reopen Yemen's main airport, port for humanitarian aid

    World News CBC News
    The Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen said Wednesday it would allow aid access through the port of Hodeidah and United Nations flights to Sanaa airport. The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen earlier this month following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital. Source
  • National inquiry into MMIWG community hearings LIVE

    Canada News CBC News
    David Cassidy, former Partridge Family teen actor, dead at 67 Source
  • Search resumes for dog-walker missing in Coquitlam, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    A dogwalker and three dogs remain unaccounted for in Coquitlam, B.C., after rescue efforts were scaled back overnight due to weather concerns. Annette Poitras, 56, has been missing since Monday afternoon, when she was out walking trails with her own dog and two others in the Coquitlam area on what has been described as an otherwise routine day for owner of the dog-walking business Annette's Doggie Daycare. Source
  • British budget: Precious few goodies as post-Brexit reality will slow growth

    World News CBC News
    Britain's treasury chief has outlined cautious spending plans to a nation bracing for the shock of Britain's departure from the European Union amid a steady worsening in economic forecasts. Philip Hammond revealed Wednesday a deteriorating outlook, as a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money to increase public spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters and the military. Source
  • Six-year-old girl kills deer under Wisconsin's new hunting rules

    World News CTV News
    MILWAUKEE -- A Wisconsin kindergartener is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under a new law that eliminates the state's minimum hunting age. Lexie Harris, 6, is no stranger to the woods. Source
  • Father stabbed to death was protecting friend: family

    Canada News CTV News
    A man who was stabbed to death in a Calgary home last week has been identified as a Humberto (Robert) Panameno, a father of four who gave his life to save another, according to his family. Source
  • U.S. declares 'ethnic cleansing' against Rohingya in Myanmar

    World News CTV News
    Rohingya Muslims, who spent four days in the open after crossing over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry their belongings after they were allowed to proceed towards a refugee camp, at Palong Khali, Bangladesh, Oct. 19, 2017. (Dar Yasin/AP) Source
  • Kim Kardashian, Rihanna call for release of child sex slave jailed for murder

    World News CTV News
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne are among a number of celebrities championing the cause of former teen prostitute Cyntoia Brown, who at 16 was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who paid her for sex. Source
  • Liberals' tax proposals still need work despite changes, critics insist

    Canada News CBC News
    A coalition of industry associations says Bill Morneau must make more changes to the controversial tax proposals he first unveiled last summer to ensure he addresses deep, persistent concerns in the small-business community. The group, which came together in recent months as a vocal opponent of the finance minister's tax-reform plan, is urging him to go further — beyond the adjustments he made to calm an uproar that dogged him for months. Source
  • Closing arguments over destruction of gas plants records to be heard today

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Closing arguments are set to be heard today at the Toronto trial of two former senior political aides accused of destroying documents. Defence lawyers will be pushing the Ontario court judge to acquit David Livingston and Laura Miller. Source