Although the topic of the Finance Minister and his assets that were not being held in a blind trust, leaving a potential conflict of interest investigation looming remains an active one in Ottawa, it will not be the topic of this week’s report.
Instead I would like to solicit your thoughts on the pending legalization of marijuana.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Liberals in the last election openly campaigned on the legalization of marijuana. I raise that point as I believe the Liberals received a democratic mandate from voters to move ahead with marijuana legalization.
The intent of my column today is not to wade into ideological discussion on this topic but rather to hear concerns that in turn can be passed on in Ottawa.
Some of the concerns I have heard thus far are quite varied.
From landlords I have heard that insurance will not cover rental units where marijuana is present. From potentially approved and legally licensed growers I have heard concerns that they might be illegally undercut by those selling marijuana with a higher THC content under the table tax free.
More recently I have heard concerns from food vendors that their products at a wholesale level might be contaminated with marijuana and resold as edible marijuana potentially creating a liability concern.
From a law enforcement standpoint I have heard that it might be difficult if not impossible to determine the point of origin to determine between legal and illegal marijuana.
Locally NDP MP Dick Cannings has raised another concern that chronic users of Marijuana may have higher THC levels in their blood that could subject a user to be subject to potentially unfair criminal charges if operating a vehicle.
Those who frequently cross the border have questioned what impact legal marijuana use in Canada would have on someone crossing into the United States. Local Governments have asked about who will pay for potentially higher policing costs while the Provinces will be responsible for setting policy.
At this point there are no answers to any of these concerns that have been raised but given that the Liberal Government has promised to implement legalization in eight months, the answers will need to be found relatively soon.
The above is only a small sampling of concerns that I have heard and do not include comments around secondary smoke and smoking marijuana in public places. I have also heard many questions from educators on how to restrict marijuana from teenagers given scientific evidence has shown potential harm for brain development among youth if using marijuana.
My question this week: what concerns do you have, if any, on the legalization of marijuana?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.