Canadian Premiers Want Extension for Cannabis Legalization Deadline

Some Canadian premiers are seeking to delay the implementation of the federal legalization of cannabis due to concerns over health impacts, public and traffic safety, and a want to avoid different provincial regulations, according to a report from The Star. The call is led by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister who wants to avoid a “hodge-podge” of rules throughout the nation as is the case with alcohol.

“I would hope we could learn from that and not re-create that for cannabis,” he said in the report. “There are too many unanswered questions, too many issues that have not been addressed for us to rush into what is an historic change.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he wouldn’t mind an extension, but he was moving forward with the July 1, 2018 deadline.

“Could we have greater continuity in this?” he asked. “It would be desirable but hard to pull off in a short period of time.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil also said his administration believes they can meet the deadline, but in “Atlantic Canada, there needs to be a uniform age.”

“…There needs to be uniform regulations across our respective provinces,” he said. “I believe that could potentially lead to, perhaps, across the country.”

Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard said he would welcome a delay but “the prime minister…was very firm on July 1.”

“…We’re working under the assumption that this will be the date,” he said. “A lot of work needs to be done.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that questions about public health and safety “have not yet been answered” and “that’s the work that we have to do now in conjunction with the federal government.”

Pallister said one of the key issues that needed to be addressed is driving under the influence, which he said needs to become as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving has. He supports pushing the program roll-out back one year.

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