Nova Scotia has 15 months to come up with ways to incorporate legal marijuana use into the province’s justice, public health and finance systems.
A law professor, police chief and cannabis dispensary owner have weighed in on some of the issues they feel should be prioritized both on the road to and after the Trudeau Liberals introduce legislation to legalize pot in April 2018.
Legal rights versus public health
Archie Kaiser is a professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie. He says it’s possible for Canada to make the transition successfully as other countries have done.
The challenge will be to define the role of criminal law while maintaining a focus on public health. Kaiser thinks legalization is a step in the right direction.
“By legalizing, you’re at least shifting the focus towards maximizing public health, maintaining public safety, while considering issues of revenues. So you’re changing the lens quite extensively.”
Kaiser says Canada does have some experience from the Prohibition era when the country banned the production and consumption of alcohol and then built it into a highly profitable and legally regulated industry..
“One can also look to other countries for examples of where, either legalization or decriminalization, have shown moderate to high levels of success,” he said.
Canada’s Parliament, the public, provinces and municipalities will all play a role, however, he cautioned the final version of the legalization bill could look very different from the one introduced at first reading.
Keep it out of the hands of teens
Halifax Police Chief Jean Michel Blais said it will be business as usual for law enforcement until final decisions are made by the federal and provincial governments.
He does have an opinion on the minimum age of consumers permitted to buy legalized pot.