The Finance Minister of Manitoba says legalizing recreational marijuana to generate revenue is short-sighted.
Cameron Friesen recently returned from the Federal Finance Ministers meeting in Ottawa where the discussion around cannabis legalization “seemed to start and end” around the idea of potential revenue.
“I think that’s just wrong,” said Cameron Friesen. “Every finance minister wants to maximize revenue, however, we need the right kind of revenue as the economy grows in this province.”
Friesen explained making marijuana legal in 2018 is too soon when there are a wide variety of other issues still unresolved.
The first priority is public safety, Friesen said, noting there’s no consistent test of sobriety for police to administer to drivers.
“We are becoming more and more aware as a jurisdiction of the link between impaired drivers and the use of marijuana,” he said.
Meanwhile, there’s still disagreement as to the proper legal age to consume cannabis.
Even in terms of supply and demand, processing and distribution, “we are years behind the black market,” Friesen explained.
“It would be naive to think the government could parachute in and somehow replace the black market supply of this.”
With a variety of issues still on the table, Friesen would like to see the approval of this legislation delayed.