The clock has long passed striking twelve midnight.
When it did though, history was made, as Wednesday saw recreational cannabis become legal across Canada, now just the the second country to decriminalize marijuana for recreational usage nationwide.
The move has long been in the cards, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised it during the 2015 election campaign.
- Ottawa introduces legislation to legalize marijuana
- Despite calls for delay, Trudeau says pot will be legal this summer
Across the country, police forces readied themselves for the big day, including the Regina Police Service.
“As much as we’ve been preparing for this for quite some time, really it’s only been in the last month or two that they’ve firmed up the legislative requirements on this,” said Chief Evan Bray. “In fact, we don’t even have the instrument on this that will be part of our roadside screening that we’ll be doing.”
While the instrument is another tool, Bray noted the men and women in law enforcement have a lot of tools and training to enforce impaired driving.
City of Regina is ready for it
At City Hall, they’re ready to go.
“We have zoned across the city, where we have our six outlets that will be there,” said Regina’s Mayor Michael Fougere. “They’re in various stages of being ready to go.”
Fougere also noted the city’s smoking bylaw is in place, dictating clear instructions regarding where smoking will and won’t be permitted in public spots.
- Regina City Councillor looking for more strict cannabis dispensary boundaries
- City of Regina has unanswered questions in regards to cannabis funding
From his end, Fougere is disappointed Saskatchewan municipalities won’t receive any funding from cannabis sales.
“My understanding is that now Alberta and Québec have reached an agreement about sharing revenue from the sale of cannabis,” he said. “We continue to want to see that.”
Province not budging on stance on impaired driving now that cannabis is legal
Impaired driving is impaired driving.
For Saskatchewan’s Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave, it’s as simple as that.
“No matter if they’re edible, or they’re smoked or eaten or however they’re taken, be it prescription drugs or marijuana. ” he said. “If you get behind the wheel and you’re impaired, we’re going to get you.”
- Sask. government announces $25,000 for MADD’s educational program
- Before legalization, marijuana second only to alcohol in impaired driving collisions
Hargrave noted Saskatchewan saw a 40% drop in drinking and driving deaths, a figure he’d like to continue to see trending downward.
“If we need more laws and regulations around it, then we’ll bring them in.”
Regina International Airport making cannabis policies very present
If you’re travelling through the airport in the Queen City, you’ll become aware very quickly on policy regarding the drug,
That’s because there’s posters and other signage plastered throughout the terminal.
Travellers going through @FlyYQR will now see cannabis message boards like these permanently.
Signage is very visible throughout the terminal.#CannabisLegalization #cdnpoli #news pic.twitter.com/iMN9mFfiA4
— David Boles (@DavidJBoles) October 17, 2018
“We’ve been prepared now for a couple weeks in anticipation of the legalization of cannabis in Canada,” said Earl Spencer, the VP of Operations and Safety with the Regina Airport Authority.
Domestic travelers are each allowed to have up to 30 grams of cannabis legally in their carry-on or checked luggage.
However, using and/or consuming marijuana products won’t be permitted on airport property.
“Basically, we’re treating cannabis just like alcohol, in terms of consumption in public areas,” noted Spencer. “We’re just not allowing it.”
(with files from Ryan McNally, Drew Postey)