Article by David Lea, Oakville Beaver via Inside Halton
When it comes to the impending legalization of marijuana Oakville residents have no shortage of questions or diverging opinions.
Oakville MP John Oliver and Canada’s former minister of health Jane Philpott found this out firsthand during a town hall meeting on the legalization and regulation of cannabis, which took place at the Operating Engineers Banquet Hall and Conference Centre Wednesday (Aug. 30).
Philpott served as Minister of Health from Nov. 4, 2015 until Monday this week, when she became Minister of Indigenous Services.
Around 100 people attended the town hall to ask questions about the government’s plans for marijuana, which is expected to be legalized in Canada in early July 2018.
The proposed Cannabis Act would allow those over the age of 18 to:
• Possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form
• Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
• Purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially or federally licensed retailer
• Grow up to four cannabis plants, up to a maximum height of 100 cm, per residence for personal use from licensed seed or seedlings
• Make cannabis products, such as food or drinks, at home provided organic solvents are not used.Philpott said the government of Canada has chosen this course for two reasons.The first, she said, is the government believes legalization and strict regulation will keep marijuana out of the hands of youth.
The second reason, she said, is the government believes this action will take money away from organized crime.
Philpott said the proposed legislation acknowledges the reality that Canadians are among the highest users of marijuana in the world and seeks to make that reality safer.
“When young people do use cannabis they are buying it from people who are very likely associated with criminal organizations. They are buying products that are unregulated and they are buying products from people who might also be selling other substances, which are potentially much more dangerous than cannabis,” said Philpott.
“We are taking a public health approach to this, which is something that maximizes education and minimizes harm. There is very much a strong focus on education and some of that has already started.”
Philpott and Oliver heard a variety of questions concerning the legislation.
Oakville Town Councillor Nick Hutchins asked questions about where the tax revenues from cannabis sales would be going and whether municipalities would be getting some of that money for things like infrastructure projects.
Philpott noted no decisions have been made yet with regard to what specific areas these revenues will be directed.