WATCH: The federal government wants Canadians to be able to buy recreational marijuana legally by July 2018. April Lawrence reports.
Dispensary owner Kyle Cheyne says the federal government’s action on marijuana legalization sounds promising.
“We’re happy that finally we have a government that’s willing to work with us,” said Cheyne, founder of Leaf Compassion Clubs.
The government pitched its pot plan to Canadians today with the ultimate goal of keeping it out of the hands of young people.
“Despite decades of criminal prohibition Canadians, including 21 per cent of youth, and 30 per cent of young adults continue to use cannabis at among the highest rates in the world,” said Bill Blair, the Parliamentary Secretary charged with legalizing marijuana in Canada.
Here’s what the government is proposing:
– Pot can only be sold to those over 18, although provinces can set the age limit even higher
– Canadians can grow up to four plants per household and possess the equivalent of up to 30 grams of dried marijuana
There will also be new tougher penalties for selling to minors, and harsher punishments for drugged driving.
Police will be able to use saliva tests to help determine if drivers have used pot, cocaine or methamphetamine.
The plan also states the marijuana can only come from federally licensed producers but Cheyne says there is no way the current producers could meet the demand.
“We’ve been running for years obviously we get it from a safe supplier, maybe if it’s going as far as the federal government acknowledged the suppliers we get it from need to get licensed,” he said.
It will be up to each province how the marijuana will be distributed, whether through liquor stores, pharmacies, or private dispensaries.
Cheyne is hopeful, whichever government is elected in May, they’ll treat pot like they do booze.
“There should be bars, there should be lounges, and there should be dispensaries,” said Cheyne.
There is a lot that still needs to be worked out.
The plan is to have the legislation take effect July 2018.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s mayor says it’s business as usual for the city’s multiple marijuana dispensaries, in fact the first public hearing for a dispensary looking for a business license will be held at city hall Thursday night.
Mayor Lisa Helps says regardless of how the province decides to distribute pot, the city’s licensing process is worthwhile.
“We are actually ahead of the game, municipalities across the country will need to put in some form of zoning for cannabis distribution and we’ve done that already so we’re not going to be scrambling in July 2018,” said Helps.
“So for example if the province decides pharmacies are going to distribute cannabis then we have that zoning bylaw we can apply to pharmacies,” she said.
While the city is ready to act, it will likely take provinces a lot longer to sort out how they’re going to handle this new legislation, which would take effect next summer.