Alberta NDP says federal pot legalization shouldn’t be hurried

Canada’s NDP government is warning Ottawa not to rush on marijuana legalization, but isn’t calling for pending federal legislation to be halted.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said Tuesday there is much work that will need to be done after the Liberal government introduces its legalization bill, which is expected in the spring.

She suggested the legislation should be subject to considerable deliberations through the House of Commons committee process.

“We need time to consider these things but we need to consider them once we’ve seen what the feds are doing,” Ganley told reporters at the provincial legislature.

“I think they have gotten the message we need time to work out our processes around theirs.”

Ganley said unsettled questions that need to be addressed include which level of government will be responsible for regulating production and distribution.

“Those are the big, broad brush strokes around it, and then there are a whole bunch of things that will need to be regulated,” she said, citing fire safety codes, regulation of the concentration of marijuana in edible products, legal consumption age limits and medical exemptions.


Marijuana-impaired driving and the distribution of potential tax revenues are also significant issues yet to be dealt with.

Ganley made the comments after Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday he wants the federal government to postpone its marijuana legalization bill because there are still too many details to work out.

“We’ve done a fair bit of preparatory work here and research, and the more we do, the more we unlock complexities that need to be addressed that are not minor things,” Pallister told reporters Tuesday.

“I know at least some of the other first ministers have these concerns as well.”

Pallister said he will speak with other premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the issue at a first ministers conference Friday in Ottawa.

Premier Rachel Notley’s spokeswoman, Cheryl Oates, said in a statement the federal legislation needs to be reviewed.

“We trust that the federal government won’t move on this file before a substantial risk assessment has been done and consideration has been given to issues arising, including those raised by Premier Pallister.”

— With files from Emma Graney, Trevor Howell, and The Canadian Press

Alberta NDP says federal pot legalization shouldn't be hurried

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