Questions linger after P.E.I. unveils plans for marijuana legalization

1 / 3
Customers likely willing to pay a little more for regulated marijuana, expert says

Politicians and industry stakeholders are raising concerns about some specific points regarding regulation and costs after the P.E.I. government unveiled its marijuana legislation this week.

The provincial government provided some preliminary information Thursday on what the legalization of marijuana will look like for Islanders. The legal age of use and purchase will be 19 and cannabis will be sold through the Liquor Control Commission at retail outlets separate from their current stores.

Edwin Jewell is the president of Canada's Island Garden, the only licensed facility to grow medical marijuana on the island.

He says they were not surprised with the details in government's announcement as they align with other Maritime provinces.

Jewell said there's some opportunity for those getting into the recreational suppliers' market. 

"There is going to be demand there and I think it's an opportunity for our company to participate in that market and other licensed producers as well," Jewell said. 

"It's a great opportunity for new industry and we are fortunate to be at the ground floor as we are right now."

'Just cover the costs'

Charlottetown's Mayor Clifford Lee says the rules at this stage make sense, but he raised concerns about expenses related to enforcement. 

He doesn't expect the city to get a share of the cannabis tax revenue but he also doesn't want Charlottetown to cover any extra costs.

Lee is looking to see if the Federation of Canadian Municipalities can work with the federal government to get money for local law enforcement.

"It is key that municipal police forces be considered and part of the compensation deal," Lee said. "All I am looking for is the actual cost that the taxpayers of Charlottetown are going to incur to be covered."

'Same regulations as smoking areas' 

Dennis MacKenzie, a medical marijuana advocate, was disappointed by some of the province's decisions.

While he agrees with the legal age, he said he would like cannabis sales to be expanded into the private sector.

MacKenzie is also questioning the rules around where cannabis products can be used.

"It should follow the same regulations as smoking areas," Mackenzie said."One of my main concerns with this whole ordeal is the not having a separation between medicinal and recreational cannabis."

P.E.I. Finance Minister Allen Roach said Thursday that more details will be released in the new year.

The provincial government plans for legislation to be implemented by July 1, 2018.

- MORE FROM P.E.I. | Confederation Bridge considers card-only payments on overnight crossings

- MORE FROM P.E.I. | P.E.I. cracks 1 million overnight stays, sets 4th straight tourism record