Article by Aaron Mahoney, My North Bay Now
The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation’s final report was released in December, but it’s been fairly quiet on that front since then. The report included a few recommendations. Those include setting a minimum age of 18 for purchasing marijuana, leaving it to the provinces to decide retail models, enforcing labelling standards for strains and potency, allowing people to grow a few plants at home and studying the implications for impaired driving.
Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota was in town yesterday, and was pressed about the subject. Rota says the biggest part on legalizing marijuana is making sure they get the process right, and that includes regulating where it’s dispensed. Rota says wherever marijuana is sold, it has to be out of the hands of children, and only available for people of age. He added that he recently had a conversation with MP Bill Blair, who said they’re likely to have some plan by the spring. Rota did say they would rather take their time and do it properly than to rush into something and regret it later.
Rota was asked about the benefits of legalizing marijuana, and says the tax revenue that would be generated from the legal sales of marijuana is one of the potential positives for the government. Rota says the big positive is cutting down on the amount of people arrested for minor possession is another. He says he has people who often come into his office who are now in their 40’s or 50’s, and were busted for possession of marijuana in their teens or early 20’s. Rota says that criminal record, for a minor offence, follows them for the rest of their life. Rota says during prohibition alcohol was vilified, but now it’s accepted. He says legalization will come down to how they can regulate and influence the distribution so it isn’t abused.