author: kristian ferguson | news editor
Government interested in peoples opinions
Just recently, the Saskatchewan government has put out a survey asking residents how they want marijuana legalization to be handled in the province.
Amidst concerns that too much of the responsibility is being left up to the provinces, it appears that the provincial government is looking to take people’s perspectives into account with decision making.
The Justice Minister, Don Morgan, in an interview with CBC Saskatchewan, said that their review will focus on “topping the growth of the underground cannabis market, restricting minors access to pot, promoting road and workplace safety, and ensuring positive public health.”
The survey the government has provided, which will remain open until Oct. 6, asks residents questions about their stances on potential methods of sale (public, private, etc.), age limits, and taxation models.
Ontario had previously announced that they would be handling marijuana through public stores, similar to Saskatchewan’s liquor stores. However, those stores would be kept separate from stores that already sell liquor.
Ontario’s plans for legalization were outlined in an article titled “Ontario’s Safe and Sensible Framework to Federal Cannabis Legislation.” They are hoping to have 40 stores open by legalization time, 80 by 2018, to eventually reach the goal of 150 stores.
Saskatchewan, however, is unsure if it can meet the deadline of July 1, 2018. Don Morgan is looking for at least an extra year in order to have a reliable framework in place.
That being said, the Carillon wanted to interview a small selection of students to get a better understanding of their thoughts on the process, specifically, on how they felt that marijuana should be sold. All of the students requested that they remain anonymous for the article.
A first-year engineering student was short and sweet on their stance.
“It should be handled [by the government]. Whether its medical, or you’re making tax money, it would be beneficial,”
Their friend, and first-year kinesiology student agreed.
“I think it should be by the government because it helps ensure what is in it or how it is grown, so that everything is okay. If the government is allowing it to be legal, it should also be safe,” stated the student.
A second-year biochemistry major was concerned about the effects of unregulated, legal, marijuana.
“I feel it should be dealt with in the same way that we deal with liquor because it is a substance that can have far reaching consequences. It makes sense to be restrictive in our regulations with it.”
Finally, a second-year electronic systems engineer was most concerned with the damage it could cause to youth who would abuse or be negatively affected by the controversial plant.
“If it somehow keeps the drugs out of the hands of the youth, that’s what is most important. Just like with cigarettes,” says the student.
“However, kids in high school still get their hands on them. I’m not really sure if legalization will restrict that enough. Saying that, though, if it is restricted to people who are eighteen or older, people are smart enough to make their own decisions.”
They expressed one final comment about the subject.
“Still, I don’t think people should be criminalized for [personal] use.”
The government does seem particularly focused on the issue of impaired driving, not surprising considering the province’s current rash of drunk driving incidents.
An article on the Saskatchewan government website entitled “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation” states that “the Government of Saskatchewan has recently updated drug and alcohol impaired driving laws to promote zero tolerance for new drivers and drivers who are 22 years of age and under. We are working with other provinces and the federal government to develop and strengthen road-side testing for drug-impaired driving.”
Whether the government decides to sell marijuana in public or private stores remains to be seen, however.