From July 17-19 Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers gathered for their annual Summer meeting in Edmonton, Alberta. At the meeting, they discussed how to strengthen Canada, supporting the wildfire efforts, jobs & economic growth, and key justice and social issues. Among these topics was the imminent country-wide legalization of recreational cannabis coming next Summer.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister requested that his fellow Premiers back him in requesting the date of legalization be pushed back one full year. Pallister believes that if recreational cannabis sales were pushed to July 1, 2019, they could address key issues that haven’t been conquered yet. What the Manitoba Premier is really aiming for is a cannabis program that has continuity across the provinces and territories of Canada.
Currently, each province and territory has their set own regulations for alcohol. Pallister believes that we would be dealing with the same problem if cannabis were legalized by Canada Day next year. The Toronto Star gave a full report of responses from provincial and territorial premiers after Pallister raised the topic.
Policies need to be developed regarding:
Traffic Safety & DUI Awareness
Protecting & Educating the Youth
Where and How it will be sold
Some agreed about pushing back legalization, citing concerns for public health and traffic safety. For Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, he mentioned that they wouldn’t mind extra time to manage the new policy. In his reasoning for the push back, he lists the same example with the lack of continuity throughout Canada regarding the liquor age and the problems that have risen from that chaos.
Representatives from both Nova Scotia and Quebec were clear that they did not expect an extension on legalization, but did admit they wouldn’t turn down the opportunity for more time to form effective policies. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil did make it clear that Atlantic Canada needs a uniform age and as such, uniform regulations that cross province and territory lines.
When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne chimed in she did admit that work was to be done on the policy. She listed off some pertinent issues that other Premiers had mentioned but didn’t agree with pushing back the deadline. Instead, Wynne believes it is the responsibility of the premiers to work with the federal government in resolving any unanswered questions they might have in formulating the regulations.
While all of the questions raised by Premiers are convincing, what stands out most is that of Wynne. It is good that these hurdles are being noticed, but that doesn’t mean it is time to turn away or move around them. Now it is time to do the hard work along with the federal government to create a recreational cannabis program that suits all of Canada. We shall see how Trudeau handles the Premier’s call for an extension, but it seems that most of the Premiers are on board with getting cannabis legal by Canada Day next year.
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.