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Parsons promises public consultation soon on legal marijuana

Justice Minister Andrew Parsons.
Justice Minister Andrew Parsons.

The government will start public consultations within the next month or two on how to implement marijuana legalization in Newfoundland and Labrador, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said.

On Thursday, the federal government will unveil the legislation for legalization of marijuana use, which will set out the overall framework for how things will work.

But according to a news report by the CBC, important aspects of the new marijuana system will be up to provincial discretion — the age that you can legally buy the drug, how it’s distributed and what the retail price will be.

When it comes to these decisions, the government will look for public input, Parsons said.

“The consultation phase, I think you’re going to see that roll out within the next month,” Parsons said.

“Consultation is definitely key here.”

He said the government will also make a point of consulting with “stakeholders” such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and police.

Parsons has been asked repeatedly over the past several months about what legalized marijuana would look like in Newfoundland and Labrador, and he hasn’t given a clear sense of a preferred model for the government.

One option would be independent storefront dispensaries; another option would be to involve the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. in the selling of pot.

Parsons stressed this is something that touches nearly every department of the government — Justice through enforcement, Health, Service NL regulation, Finance from a taxation point of view and so on.

“No doubt there’s a lot of challenges here. This is a huge, fundamental shift for our province, and for the country,” Parsons said.
“When it comes to what we’re in control of, I’m extremely confident that we’ll have everything done in our power to make sure that our province is ready to move, when the timeline comes down.”

When asked whether he will personally partake in marijuana after it’s legalized, Parsons said, “What I would say, Mr. McLeod, is that’s none of your business.”

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