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UPDATE: P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission to operate stand-alone cannabis stores, government setting use age at 19

The P.E.I. government announced Thursday the legal age for marijuana use will be 19 and that it will be sold through stand-alone retail stores under the province’s liquor control commission.
The P.E.I. government announced Thursday the legal age for marijuana use will be 19 and that it will be sold through stand-alone retail stores under the province’s liquor control commission. - File photos

It won’t be one-stop shopping for marijuana and booze in P.E.I. once the federal government legalizes cannabis.

Finance Minister Al Roach announced Thursday the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission will operate retail locations separately from liquor stores.

Roach said he doesn’t know how much the marijuana retail stores will cost, and the government is still working out details like how big they will be.

“We have a lot of work to do over the next number of months to prepare for when legalization happens this summer.”

Although the federal government plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018, the provinces are still responsible for some regulation, including distribution and the legal consumption age.

Along with the provincial government selling marijuana through retail outlets, Islanders will be able to buy it through an e-commerce platform.

Anyone who buys marijuana will only be able to consume it in a private residence, although the government left open the possibility of expanding use to designated public spaces at a later date.

Nova Scotia also announced its plans Thursday, which include selling marijuana out of liquor stores.

Roach said the province decided not to use that model after a federal task force looking at marijuana legalization recommended against it.

What people will be paying for marijuana or the exact locations of stores is still being worked on with Roach saying Thursday’s announcement was just to release the basic framework.

“We certainly haven’t made any decisions on price or location as of yet,” he said.

As for how old Islanders will have to be to use marijuana, Roach said the province decided to set the age limit at 19.

“Pretty much every jurisdiction in the country has followed the exact same process,” he said.

Roach said the province had conversations with other jurisdictions about their plans for setting a legal age.

“We certainly think it’s important to align ourselves as a regional area, particularly the four Atlantic provinces,” he said.

One issue the provinces will have to deal with once marijuana is legalized is a potential increase in the number of drivers impaired by drugs.

Only a few police officers are trained as drug recognition experts in the province.

The training is expensive, and it’s not offered in P.E.I.

Roach said the province will be looking after training for police officers.

“If there’s a bit of additional funding required, then we’ll look after that.”

He also said he “wouldn’t discount” the possibility of adding the drug recognition training at the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside.

Infobox:

Five facts:

- P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission to operate stand-alone cannabis retail stores

- Legal marijuana use age will be set at 19

- Marijuana use restricted to private residences

- Regulations for edibles not expected until 2019

- P.E.I.’s marijuana legislation expected in the spring

Ryan.Ross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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