Article by Dan McGarvey, CBC News
Cannabis advocates in Calgary say the initial high around legalization is wearing off.
The Liberals released more details about their plan on Thursday along with federal legislation, including two new bills: one to regulate the recreational use, sale and growing of marijuana, and another that strengthens measures to stop impaired driving.
Pro-marijuana groups in Calgary are worried about tough sanctions for breaking the new rules. They also say small businesses are getting shut out and the current regulatory model for medicinal cannabis doesn’t do enough to protect consumers.
“I’m happy it’s moving forward but at the same time there are a lot of really harsh penalties,” said president of the Calgary Cannabis Club, John Ferrier.
The new legislation includes up to 14 years in prison for the illegal distribution or sale, as well as up to 14 years in prison for giving or selling marijuana to minors.
“Fourteen years for anything marijuana related is a really, really stiff penalty. It should be closer to alcohol. This just brings out the stigma around marijuana and we need to drop that stigma,” said Ferrier.
Ferrier says his club agrees with the Liberal government’s goal of reducing access of cannabis to children and preventing impaired driving, but the sentences announced are unreasonable and there are still questions around how impaired driving enforcement will work.