Legal Pot Recommendations Released by New Brunswick Working Group

A provincial working group based in New Brunswick released an interim report today that outlines how the province may handle adult-use cannabis when it becomes available in July of 2018.

Consisting of Ministers from Public Health and Safety, the Department of Finance, as well as the CEO of the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, the group is expected to release a full document in the fall, but today’s recommendations offer a window into how legalization will look in the maritime province.

The recommendations include:

  • a Crown corporation model to regulate and sell cannabis in the province
  • a legal age of 19 for possession and consumption of cannabis
  • a personal possession limit of 30 grams, consistent with the limit outlined in federal Bill C-45
  • an outline of strategies to reduce harm and risk

New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau stated that even if the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation was handling the distribution and sale of adult-use marijuana, the two products would not be sold together. “There have been very strong arguments made that they should certainly be different points of sale,” he said. “It wouldn’t be within liquor stores even if it was managed by NB Liquor, it would be a different storefront.”

The Minister added that “striking the right balance of ensuring protections for the well-being of families and children, and addressing health and public safety concerns, is an essential element of the discussion regarding cannabis legalization.”

The New Brunswick Medical Society agreed with the idea of a Crown corporation selling marijuana but expressed disappointment with the proposed age limit. “From a medical perspective we felt it shouldn’t be sold to anyone under the age of 25 but knew that was unlikely to be agreed upon,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck in an interview with the CBC.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he agrees with the federal marijuana task force recommending the minimum age or 18 or 19, keeping in line with the legal drinking age in the country.

New Brunswick is the first province to offer a comprehensive report on what may happen come legalization day. Other provinces are determining their legislation details in their own ways, such as Alberta, which released an online survey at the beginning of June to hear from its citizens on how to best move forward.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

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