Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Province's Pot Law a Responsible First Step

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Province's Pot Law a Responsible First Step

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Province's pot law a responsible first step

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published March 22:

Where there's smoke, there's fired-up opposition to laws dictating exactly where that smoke can be.

Reaction was both swift and predictable to Tuesday's unveiling of Manitoba's proposed legislation which would ban smoking or vapourizing of cannabis in all outdoor public places. One pot advocate went as far as to compare the Pallister government's package of marijuana laws to the long-ago days of alcohol prohibition.

In addition to banning pot smoking and vaping in public places, Bill 25 will also attach fines to violations of that law, as well as establishing penalties for people who drive under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.

In a joint news conference on Tuesday, Health Minster Kelvin Goertzen and Justice Minister Heather Stefanson described the province's approach as practical and responsible. Later, local cannabis advocate Steven Stairs dismissed the proposed bill as mere pandering to those in the Pallister government's conservative base who oppose the federal government's pending pot legalization.

On its surface, Bill 25 does seem aggressive in its limitation of what will soon be a legal activity. But those who are quick to declare that the ­proposed law overreaches should be reminded that the province has been handed a complex task and a tight timeline by a federal government eager to deliver on a populist election promise by dumping the details onto its regional counterparts.

Laws evolve over time. For evidence, look no further than the various and substantial changes that have been made to the province's liquor laws during the past few decades. How alcohol is sold and consumed in Manitoba in 2018 is vastly different -- and much more progressive -- than it was in 1988 or even 2008. …

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