Liberals table bill to legalize pot

Marijuana plants. File Photo

The federal government has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana, while placing strict limits on selling to minors and drug-impaired driving.

The government said the legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, should be in force no later than July 2018. It will allow adults over the age of 18 to legally possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public, and to grow up to four plants at a maximum height of one metre.

Each province will be free to design its own system to regulate the sale of marijuana, and to increase the age limit for sale, purchase and consumption of the drug. In provinces that fail to regulate marijuana, residents will be able to purchase from federally regulated distributers over the Internet.

Mayor Greg Dionne said the city has been preparing for the move, but he points out that there’s still a long way to go before council will need to craft its own policy.

“Once the bill is passed then it goes to the province. They don’t at this time have an idea about how they’re going to roll it out,” he said. “We’re going to be last in the pecking order.”

But Dionne said that he can “guarantee” that marijuana dispensaries would be subject to discretionary use zoning – which means they’ll need to go before council for approval. He said he expects public hearings that will allow neighbours to raise their concerns.

The mayor said there’s some thing’s he’ll insist upon, no matter what the province decides. He said he doesn’t want dispensaries anywhere near schools, hospitals or playgrounds.

For more on this story, see the April 15 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.