Bill Blair’s Cannabis Tour Stops in Niagara

Article by Melinda Cheevers, Niagara This Week

Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, shown here in a 2016 file photo, was in Niagara Thursday for a roundtable with Niagara stakeholders regarding cannabis legalization and regulation.

Regional stakeholders had the opportunity to provide input on the legalization and regulation of cannabis during a round-table discussion with the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and Attorney General of Canada.

In February, Bill Blair set out on a cross-country tour to meet with stakeholders in different communities about the federal government’s commitment to legalizing and regulating cannabis. While he’s already made a trip to British Columbia and plans on heading to the east coast, Blair said he’s been primarily focusing on Ontario including visits to Sault Ste. Marie, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, York and Peel regions, and on Thursday, a visit to Brock University to meet with Niagara stakeholders.

“I’ve been speaking with quite a variety of officials, people from municipal governments, public health, problematic substance use,” he said.

Representatives from the Niagara Region, its public health division, Niagara College, Brock University, St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services, Niagara Emergency Medical Services, and the City of St. Catharines were on hand for the roundtable.

“This is a process. A process of establishing an effective and comprehensive regulatory framework for the control of cannabis in its production, distribution, and in retail and consumption. In order to get this right, we’ve gone and gotten advice from experts in the areas of public health, justice, public safety and problematic substance use; but in the development and implementation of legislation and regulations, it’s really important to maintain an effective dialogue with people who are actually in the delivery of services right on the ground,” he said, adding they were talking about not just what they’re going to do, but why they’re doing it.

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