Heather Senoran | Global News
As the government moves closer to legalizing pot, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has released a report this week outlining strict rules when it comes to where marijuana is used and how it is marketed and distributed.
The report suggests if cannabis becomes legal, there should be a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy when it comes to using in a vehicle. That would apply to both drivers and passengers.
The CMHA also suggests restricted marketing be in place for pot, akin to how tobacco is advertised. The report calls for the minimum age to purchase marijuana to be set at 19 and for distributors to take an educational course similar to Ontario’s smart-serve course for bartenders and others working with alcohol.
“We want a knowledgeable consumer and we want to make sure that people selling [marijuana] and distributing it have the information they need,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario.
The association recommends revenue from pot sales be put towards mental health and addictions services, public awareness campaigns, enforcement and research.
“We think a healthy investment would go a long way to helping people make the best choice for themselves,” Quenneville said.
Jennawae McLean, co-owner of 420 Kingston, is herself a medical marijuana user. While she’s pleased the government is moving closer to legalizing pot, she doesn’t agree with the CMHA report.
“I think very few parts of it are based on actual science, because… it doesn’t exist yet. That’s where we’re sort of back in the wheel of ignorance,” said McLean said.
It’s business as usual at her store following a police raid in the spring, which resulted in the shop only selling accessories and paraphernalia rather than marijuana seeds or other pot products.
McLean believes small businesses like hers should be allowed to conduct private sales. She suggests the cost of legalized marijuana should be comparable to the black market to eliminate the need for any underground sales.
“We were in possession of allegedly more than our amounts that we’re allowed to have,” McLean said. “But we’re licensed medical users so … we’re going through the court process right now, and it’s a waste of everybody’s time.”