As federal pot plan rolls out, Sask. government wants a few things cleared up

The Liberal government's legislation to legalize recreational pot use has been met with questions and concerns from the Saskatchewan government.

Province shares initial thoughts about marijuana legalization

Before marijuana becomes legal in 2018, the Saskatchewan government has a number of things it would like to see cleared up. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Liberal government's legislation to legalize recreational pot use has been met with questions and concerns from the Saskatchewan government.

On Thursday, the province provided its initial thoughts in a statement. The province says it's reviewing the tabled legislation.

It said while Ottawa outlined a framework for legalization, important details are still not clear.

The following concerns were shared by the Saskatchewan government in the statement:

  • Public safety risks associated with marijuana impaired driving: "We are happy to see the zero-tolerance approach but at the same time it is incredibly difficult for police to identify who is impaired as technology is not yet proven in this area."
  • Minimum age set to 18 but up to provinces to ultimately decide: "We are concerned that the lack of consistency across provinces could be problematic."
  • Costs to train drug recognition experts: "We hope to see federal funding to accompany the strengthening of marijuana impaired driving."
  • Distribution and taxation: "We will also need to look at best ways of distribution and taxation as none of those details are contained in the bill tabled in the House of Commons today."
  • Costs to implement and meet legislation: "We expect the federal government will provide funding where required and work to clarify some of these questions we have."

The government did applaud Ottawa for some aspects of the new law.

  • Selling to minors: "We are glad to see that the federal government has created increased penalties for people who provide marijuana to young persons."
  • Minimum age: "We are pleased that the federal government will allow provinces to determine the minimum age of consumption."

Minister of Justice Gordon Wyant has also sent a letter to the federal government asking who will pay for extra training for police officers to detect impairment due to marijuana in drivers.

Federal law

The pot plan comes with two new bills: one to regulate the recreational use, sale and cultivation of marijuana; and a second that strengthens impaired driving measures.

It allows people to possess up to 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis and sets the minimum allowed age at 18, though provinces can set a higher legal age.

The province said it will now get to work towards July 1, 2018: the date the federal government has targeted for pot to become legal. 


Adam Hunter


Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for more than 16 years. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him:

With files from CBC's Kathleen Harris