Nfld. & Labrador

Province rolling out pot plan sometime in next few weeks

The Newfoundland and Labrador government will be revealing its pot legalization plan in the next few weeks, says Minister of Justice and Public Safety Andrew Parsons.

Justice officials say the details will be revealed before the House closes in December

Andrew Parsons, justice and public safety minister, said the province is "certainly ready" for legal pot. (CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government will be revealing its pot legalization plan in the next few weeks, says Minister of Justice and Public Safety Andrew Parsons.

"Certainly before this fall sitting of the House of Assembly adjourns in December," he said.

That happens on Dec. 7.

Falling behind?

The federal government is aiming for marijuana legalization across the country next July and each province is responsible for its own implementation plan. So far, provinces like Alberta, Quebec and Ontario have all rolled out strategies.

Last week's announcement from Manitoba detailing plans for private retail with provincially-controlled distribution sparked questions from the Opposition Wednesday in the House of Assembly.

Parsons said there's been a steering committee within government working on a plan for almost a year. 

Plenty of feedback

In June, government launched a website and public consultation campaign asking people what they wanted and didn't want from provincially-regulated legal marijuana.

Almost 2,600 people went online to answer the survey, making it one of the most popular public surveys the province has ever conducted.

What will legal marijuana sales look like in Newfoundland and Labrador? Andrew Parsons says people will know soon. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

"The fact is our government will be ready. We were the second province to come out with an online consultation with the public, one of the greatest attended consultations this province has seen," Parsons said.

"Some provinces haven't even done a consultation yet."

The committee has been using that feedback, in part, to draft its pot policies, said Parsons.

Plenty of revenue, plenty of costs

People hoping revenue from legal marijuana will see a good portion of the deficit go up in smoke need to chill, said Parsons.

The online public survey about the province's pot strategy was one of their most popular public consultation campaigns. (CBC)

"There's also a safety side and a social consciousness that we need to have so there will be significant costs borne when it comes to safety, when it comes to education, when it comes to health, when it comes to addictions," he said. 

He said government looks forward to announcing the plan, which will cover "all angles of the cannabis legalization."