MacLauchlan recently returned from Council of the Federation meetings in Edmonton where the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana was discussed.
The most likely scenario for P.E.I. is that in the spring legislative session the government will introduce legislation to deal with issues like the age of consumption and distribution.
“The decisions would need to be made before that,” he said.
Regionally, MacLauchlan said the Maritime provinces are working on a common approach to the legal age of consumption and how marijuana will be distributed.
Nationally, the provinces and territories have formed a working group to look at several issues, including public safety and public health.
That working group will also deal with issues around supply, price and distribution.
All of the changes will have to be made before legalization in July 2018.
MacLauchlan said there will be consultations in P.E.I. for people to give feedback on the legal age of consumption.
“Really, I think it is to go at it with a view to it being the same age, certainly in the three Maritime provinces and ideally the four Atlantic provinces,” he said.
When it comes to distribution, MacLauchlan said the first question will be whether it is through public or private means and if it will be through the same locations where alcohol is sold.
“This will have to be decided over the course of the coming months,” he said.
MacLauchlan said the provincial and territorial working group will release its report by the first of November.
The public awareness component will take longer, MacLauchlan said.
“What choices people make and what the health issues are.”
When it comes to drivers impaired by marijuana, MacLauchlan said there aren’t enough people in the province who can give evidence that will lead to a conviction and more will have to be trained.
“That’s definitely something that needs to take place.”
MacLauchlan said public education on the dangers of consuming marijuana and driving will be a big part of legalization.
“For people to realize that if you’re consuming marijuana and driving you’re impaired,” he said.
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