Nearly 35-thousand people took part in a recent survey in Saskatchewan which focused on how cannabis should be legalized in the province.
According to the government, it was the largest response of any government survey.
Justice Minister Don Morgan says the results are vital in developing the best framework possible.
He also says despite only 46 percent of survey respondents said they strongly agree with a zero-tolerance policy on drug-impaired driving, he is not questioning those who answered the survey.
“I think the concern that I share with the people that filled out the form is I want the roadways safe as possible,” Morgan says. “I use the highways a lot, I don’t want to drive next to somebody that is impaired by cold-prescriptions, or by cannabis, or by alcohol or by anything else. I want the safest drivers possible on the road.”
The government conducted the online survey from September 8 to October 6, 2017.
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Information collected from the respondents will be used to help guide Saskatchewan’s approach to cannabis legalization.
Nicole Sarauer, leader of the opposition, says the provincial government needs to do a better job of consulting with the people of the province.
“We should be seeing consultations like we’ve seen in Alberta, where there was a large swath of consultations, public town-hall style, as well as several online surveys,” Sarauer says. “Then some recommendations and then further consultations. We haven’t seen that from this government.”
The survey included questions about areas which the province has the ability to regulate, such as:
- age limits on cannabis sales, with 45.8 per-cent wanting 19 to be the minimum age requirement;
- public consumption, 33.7 per-cent strongly agree consumption should be prohibited in public spaces;
- taxation on cannabis sales, 33.4 per-cent strongly agreed to an excise tax;
- distribution and wholesaling; 45.2 per-cent strongly agree cannabis should be sold though government run retailers, similar to alcohol distribution.
Other topics covered in the survey included:
- potential retail models, locations and rules;
- regulatory compliance; and
- the enforcement of modified impaired driving laws; with 46 per-cent strongly agreeing cannabis should be prohibited in vehicles.
The Minister Responsible for SGI agreed safety on roads and highways is a priority.
“Marijuana impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, motor co-ordination, and ability to make decisions,” Joe Hargrave said. “Survey respondents made it clear they felt drug use and driving should not mix. The information provided through the survey is valuable to assist us in developing a plan to meet public safety expectations.”
The province will be releasing its framework document outlining the future of cannabis legalization within Saskatchewan in the near future.
(Files from Drew Postey)