The Saskatchewan government is releasing its framework for cannabis legislation, while outlining a plan for the legal and responsible distribution, sale and use of cannabis in the province.
Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework includes details on priorities such as keeping our roads and workplaces safe; wholesale, distribution, and retail sales; and includes input from stakeholders as well as guidance from the public survey conducted in the fall of 2017.
Key details included in the framework are:
• Minimum age for non-medicinal cannabis consumption will be 19 years of age;
• Zero tolerance for all drug-impaired drivers in the province. It will always be illegal to drive while impaired in Saskatchewan – whether by drugs or alcohol. This will not change once cannabis use becomes legal;
• Consuming cannabis in public spaces will be prohibited for public health considerations. Consumption will also be prohibited in schools and daycares.
• Saskatchewan is introducing legislation to prohibit the possession of any amount by a minor. Possession of smaller amounts, by a minor, will be addressed primarily through ticketing and seizure of the cannabis, in accordance with the provincial Act. Possession of more than five grams will be a criminal offence subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
• The province will adopt the federal minimum standards around home production, including a limit of four plants per household.
Provincial justice minister Don Morgan says there is a reason why they went with the age of 19.
“We had discussions around this with caucus, and decided this kept us in line with the age for possession and consumption of alcohol which was the direction that most provinces were going with.” Morgan explained. “It would have been a challenge to use 23, 25 or a later age because we were afraid it would be easier for a black market to be established with the lower ages.”
NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer agrees with the age of 19 because it matches what is being done with alcohol consumption, but there are some provisions in the framework which are concerning because of how they will be enforced and regulated.
She adds there are some concerns about the wholesale permit process and who it is going to that they are going to monitor.