Article by Geordon Omand, Waterloo Region Record
Canada’s justice ministers are asking for clarity and support as they scramble to organize and police an entirely new marijuana industry in fewer than 10 months.
British Columbia Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he hopes this week’s meeting between federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her provincial and territorial counterparts will provide more answers about how the Canadian government intends to make good on its plans to legalize pot by summer 2018.
“Obviously, I think the July time frame is a challenge,” he said. “But right now that’s the timeline, that’s the time frame that we’re working towards.”
The justice ministers began two days of meetings in Vancouver on Thursday. Besides pot, the agenda includes discussions around how the justice system deals with people who don’t disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners and the fallout from a Supreme Court of Canada decision that puts a time limit on how long it takes to prosecute a criminal charges.
Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said in a statement that her government wants more clarity on how the Canadian government intends to support provinces in implementing The Cannabis Act.
Stefanson stressed the importance of developing proper policy to address road safety and enforcement, regardless of the regulatory regime.
“Our primary concern regarding the legalization of marijuana is the health and safety of Manitobans,” she said. “The federal government must recognize that rushing into something of this magnitude presents tremendous risks.”
Ontario Justice Minister Yasir Naqvi described the deadline as tight but added that his province is working diligently to be ready by July 1, 2018.
Ontario became the first province to make public its plans for legalized cannabis last week, unveiling the outline of a regulatory system that restricts sales to stores operated by its own liquor board.