Article by CBC News
There’s been a lot of talk about cannabis leading up to Wednesday’s legalization, but with so much on the line it still feels in some ways as though the really important conversation is just getting started.
Canadians across the country have many questions about how things will work, ranging from how workers’ rights will be protected, to what kind of resources are in place to address marijuana addiction and prevent impaired driving.
The National co-host Andrew Chang and members of the public put some of those questions to the experts in a CBC town hall:
- Bill Blair, Minister of border security and organized crime reduction, and the government’s lead on the cannabis file
- Dr. Gigi Osler, president of the Canadian Medical Association
- Kirk Tousaw, lawyer and consultant for Canopy Growth Corp.
Some of the questions may be very similar to yours, some may cover issues you haven’t thought of — and some of the answers, as well as the lack of clarity on specific issues, may surprise you.
Here are excerpts from the town hall:
Elaine Farrell of Toronto is a long-time employee of the Toronto Transit Commission, and has been fighting for the right to use cannabis CBD oil instead of prescription opioids for chronic pain in her legs and back.
Farrell asks:”How will the worker’s rights be balanced, and my rights to be able to use cannabis either for medicinal or recreational purposes?”
Minister Bill Blair says that while we’ve had experience with medical cannabis for nearly two decades in Canada, new workplace rules will likely be developed once recreational cannabis is legal:
Lawyer Kirk Tousaw adds that he has concerns about employers who may rely on drug testing to determine impairment. Signs of cannabis use can stay in people’s bodies for a long period of time, so it’s difficult to say when and how much they’ve been using.
“When you’re testing people for the presence of these metabolites, you’re not really getting a clear picture.”