Submitted by Marijuana News on Tue, 01/12/2016
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is pleased Prime Minister Trudeau has asked former Toronto police chief Bill Blair to lead legalization of marijuana.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is pleased Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, now Scarborough Southwest MP, to lead the marijuana legalization efforts.
“I have a lot of respect for Bill Blair. I think that he’ll do a great job and his taking on of that role is the beginning of that national conversation that I said we have to have,” Wynne told reporters Monday at Queen’s Park.
The premier added that she was heartened that Blair is embracing her proposal to have cannabis sold through government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlets.
“I’m encouraged that he had, as a preliminary approach, that he thinks that it might make sense to use a distribution network that’s in place, . . . (although that’s) not a foregone conclusion,” she said.
“He’s got a lot of people to talk to and he’s got a lot of questions to ask and a lot of decisions to make over the coming months, so I look forward to that conversation.”
Blair, a rookie MP who is parliamentary secretary to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, will work with a three-member cabinet team and a soon-to-be-named federal-provincial-territorial task force to develop the policy for legalizing marijuana.
On Friday, Blair said Ottawa will look to Colorado and other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana sales.
“We have pretty robust systems of regulation for other intoxicants in this country, mostly overseen by the provinces, and so we’ve already got a model, a framework we can build on here,” he said.
“I think there are certain modifications or adjustments that we may have to make for cannabis as opposed to alcohol, but I think there is already a strong system in place for the control and regulation” of marijuana sales here.
The police veteran, who himself has never smoked marijuana, pointed out that it is “very difficult” for under-aged Ontarians to buy booze at the LCBO.
“You’re going to come up against a government employee who’s got regulations to enforce and is going to ask for identification and if a person’s under age, they’re not going to be able to buy that,” said Blair.
“And that’s a far better way to regulate access (to marijuana) for kids than leaving it up to some criminal in a stairwell. Frankly, in most urban centres across this country, it is far easier for a kid, an under-aged youth, to acquire marijuana than it is to acquire alcohol.”