Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 1:10 p.m.
Counties council worries over new marijuana law
Marijuana becomes legal in Canada in mid-October and the mayors of Prescott and Russell counties still wonder what that is going to mean for day-to-day life in their communities.
Counties council members spent about half an hour during their Wednesday morning session listing concerns they had about the federal government’s legalization of recreational marijuana use, which takes effect in mid-October. One concern is whether or not making recreational marijuana legal will have any serious financial impact on organized crime.
"Even if marijuana becomes legal," said Mayor Gary Barton of Champlain Township, "the ‘black market’ will find a way to make a profit."
Mayors on counties council also discussed whether or not municipalities will have a say about any plans to set up government or private sector marijuana retail outlets in their areas, the impact on policing costs for dealing with people who may drive while intoxicated from smoking marijuana, and other issues. UCPR Chief Administrator Stéphane Parisien noted that there are federal and provincial laws that deal with alcohol abuse and there will be similar laws to deal with marijuana abuse.
A recent announcement from the new Progressive Conservative government indicates that recreational smoking of marijuana in public will follow the same provincial regulations that deal with smoking tobacco in public.
"I’m sure that there will be a lot of complaints about ‘the neighbour next door’," said Attorney General Caroline Munro during a September 26 news conference with provincial media, "but we’re aligning with the Smoke Free Ontario Act."