P.E.I.'s Department of Justice and Public Safety outlined more preliminary directions for cannabis legislation in Prince Edward Island Tuesday, including where and how the product will be sourced and sold.
The province announced in December that 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.
Tuesday, the province announced more details on how it will handle possession, drug-impaired driving, transporting cannabis, harm reduction and education, who will supply government stores and how the products will be sold.
"Our focus remains on getting rid of the illegal market, ensuring Islanders are making an informed choice, and protecting the public health and safety of Islanders," said Heath MacDonald, newly appointed minister of finance, noting the project affects most departments in the province.
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Adults 19 and over will be allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis in public. There are no restrictions in personal residences at this time. It will be illegal for anyone under 19 to possess cannabis.
The province plans to strengthen roadside suspension and create a summary offence in cases of drug-impaired driving with a minor. Convictions for summary offences usually result in fines rather than jail time.
The province will sell cannabis online with home delivery, and will have four government-owned retail stores. They will be located in Charlottetown, Summerside, Montague and West Prince, but store addresses have yet to be determined.
The province is putting out a request for proposals for storefronts soon.
"We're looking for accessibility, and structures," said MacDonald "This is going to happen relatively quickly, we're moving quickly, staff are working hard at this process."
The province will get its cannabis from three companies, including the only facility licensed to grow medical marijuana on the Island, Canada's Island Garden, owned by Edwin Jewell, as well as OrganiGram of Moncton, N.B. and Canopy Growth Corporation of Smith Falls, Ont.
"As legalization emerges, we look forward to working with the province to promote the responsible consumption of cannabis here on the Island," read a written release from Canada's Island Garden Tuesday. The release also noted the company is now allowed to produce cannabis oil, and has installed an oil extraction lab made by P.E.I. manufacturers Diversified Metal Engineering.
The province has yet to set a price for the product.
The rules for transporting cannabis will be similar to carrying alcohol: it should be in unopened packaging, and if it is opened, it should not be accessible to anyone in the vehicle.
The province is preparing public health and safety campaigns about cannabis, it said, which will ramp up as legalization approaches this summer.
The provincial government plans for legislation to be implemented by July 1.
The province has posted information on its web page, including a table of which activities it considers federal and provincial responsibilities, and a timeline of its planned decisions including separate legislation for cannabis edibles.
The province still needs to decide where Islanders will be allowed to smoke recreational pot. More details are still to come about personal cultivation. Though the federal government is recommending four plants per household be permitted, the province could move to restrict that, its website notes.
The province said Tuesday it didn't know yet how much setting up the infrastructure around pot will cost, nor how much money could be made through taxation.
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