Kenora MP Bob Nault says that Canada’s previous approach to cannabis has been a failure. Now that marijuana is set to be legalized in the fall, Nault says that Canada’s new approach will only make it more difficult for youth to illegally consume the drug.

“I think that the way we’ve approached cannabis over the last nine years has been an abject failure. We have the largest use of cannabis in the western world by our young people, and it’s not getting any better,” said Nault.

“So we think that legalizing, controlling and managing it in an appropriate manner will make a difference in making sure that cannabis doesn’t get into the hands of young people. We also want to get the illegal trade of cannabis out of our country as best as we can. This will be a positive step in the right direction.”

On October 17, Canadians over the age of 19 will be able to posses up to 30 grams of marijuana at a time. Consumption will be confined to private residences, as it will be illegal to consume in public places. Residents will also be allowed to cultivate four marijuana plants in their home.

Under former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario was set to open 40 retail stores later this year, controlled by a new Crown agency called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation – a branch of the LCBO.

Even though the LCBO will be running the sale of marijuana, cannabis and alcohol will not be sold alongside each other, as the government will have to follow the Government of Canada’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. Cannabis store workers will also be members of the Ontario Public Sector Employees’ Union.

Nault says that Ontario is now planning for even more retail stores, alongside online sales.

“You will be able to purchase cannabis online. Over time, there will be 150 retail outlets. We’re starting with 60, and then they’ll move to 150 by 2020. There will also be a very strict process to make sure that you are of age before you can purchase these products online,” Nault added.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation says that cannabis will be sold in the forms allowed under federal law. These forms will initially include dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, as well as cannabis accessories. Edibles will not be sold, as under the federal government, they are still considered illegal.

People or businesses that are convicted of illegally selling or distributing cannabis could face fines of up to $250,000 for individuals, and / or jail time of up to two years. Corporations would face fines of up to $1 million for the same offence.

Senate has also previously introduced and reinforced a number of laws regarding impaired driving, ahead of the expected marijuana legalization. The new, tougher laws against drug-impaired driving will include zero tolerance for: young drivers aged 21 and under, novice drivers – G1, G2, M1 and M2 licence holders and all commercial drivers. Roughly 29 per cent of all road fatalities in Ontario involve a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield says that he has recently met with mayors from across the province, and that there’s concerns about the additional policing costs to municipalities, as well as a need for a portion of the marijuana taxation revenue to flow to municipalities.

For more information:
Legalization to increase policing costs, mayor

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