Nfld. & Labrador

It may be legal, but marijuana might be a 'shock' for new users, warns health minister

"It's the same with any intoxicant, you've got to use it wisely."

'We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best, say John Haggie

It will be legal to buy and use marijuana in Newfoundland and Labrador on Oct. 17. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister is warning first-time marijuana users to be careful once legalization happens on Oct. 17.

"It's the same with any intoxicant, you've got to use it wisely," says John Haggie.

"They all have risks. Alcohol has a risk. Marijuana has a risk and people who are not used to it may get a shock."

We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best.- Health Minister John Haggie

Speaking at Memorial University's medical school Thursday morning, Haggie criticized the federal government for not doing enough to educate the public about marijuana.

"We've been challenged to make sure we are ready. There was an understanding that we had that the federal government were going to do a lot of the education piece," he said.

"I'm not sure that has happened the way I would have liked, but we are filling that gap."

Haggie said it's impossible to predict if hospitals will see patients who've over-indulged with legal marijuana, but he said they are ready.

Health Minister John Haggie says emergency room physicians are as prepared as they can be for legalization of marijuana. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"We've got the regional health authorities, through their emergency room physicians, as prepared as they can be," he said.

"We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Quinn

CBC News

Mark Quinn is a videojournalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.

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