Article by Rob Ferguson, The Toronto Star
When it becomes legal next July, recreational marijuana should be sold with more restrictions than that other weed — tobacco — says the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ontario branch.
The group will release a position paper Monday calling on the province to ban pot smoking in cars with a “zero tolerance” policy, cap the amount of THC in cannabis products and use all tax revenues from them to boost addiction and mental health services.
Staff selling marijuana products in stores should have special training akin to the Smart Serve program for bartenders, with what the CMHA dubs a first-of-its-kind “Cannabis Card.”
“We have an opportunity to start fresh with this,” Camille Quenneville, chief executive officer of CMHA’s Ontario branch, told the Star before the wide-ranging, 18-page submission was made public.
The provincial government will spend the coming months settling on an age of majority for recreational marijuana, deciding on a retail network of stores where it will be sold, developing a public education campaign and dealing with a host of regulatory issues.
Ontario has established a Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat to co-ordinate the effort on behalf of all government ministries. Medical marijuana is already legal.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has strongly hinted the age of majority for cannabis will be set at 19, the same as for alcohol — a position the mental health association supports.
But Quenneville urged the province to set strict advertising and marketing restrictions, as with tobacco, to “minimize the profile and attractiveness” of cannabis, while going one step further with plain packaging to downplay brand identities.