Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister leads potential Prairie push to delay pot legalization

by Invesbrain Thursday, July 20, 2017
Print This Article

The Prairies could turn into a major pothole on Canada’s road to marijuana legalization.

On July 18, at the Council of Federation, an annual meeting of provincial and territorial leaders, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister called on his counterparts to push the federal government to delay the legalization of adult recreational marijuana use for one year.

Pallister’s provincial Conservative government is no friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and there is an element of mischief in the premier’s call. Forcing Ottawa to delay legalization past its July 1, 2018 target would be another embarrassing retreat for a federal government often accused of breaking its promises. Further regulatory uncertainty would roil already skittish marijuana investors.

Related: Inside the Cannabis bubble

And pushing legalization to 2019 could cause the opening of the recreational market to be postponed past the next federal election.

On the federal level, some of the nerviness regarding the Cannabis Act or Bill C-45, is dissipating. Despite rumours percolating through Ottawa that Trudeau was considering a legislative manoeuvre known as prorogation to reset his agenda -- which could have delayed the passing of Bill C-45 and its counterpart C-46 -- on July 13 the prime minister told reporters the current session of Parliament would continue. And mid-July federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told CBC News that the government is sticking with July 2018 and that recreational pot would be available by mail in jurisdictions where distribution was not in place.

Related: Net neutrality could affect legal cannabis

However, Manitoba’s neighbouring Prairie provinces met Pallister’s plea with varying degrees of lukewarm responses. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, whose Saskatchewan Party skews to the right like Pallister’s, said he wouldn’t object to a delay in legalization.

On the left side of Manitoba and the political spectrum however, Alberta’s NDP premier Rachel Notley left open the door to a postponement.

“It is a very big job,” Notley told the CBC. “We’ve told the federal government we will do everything we can to be ready but that we are not promising that it will happen and that they won’t at some point receive a request from us to slow it down a bit.”

The concerns Notley, Wall and Pallister share revolve around the fact much of the jurisdictional burden of managing marijuana legalization falls to the provinces, from how pot will be distributed and taxed to age of access to enforcing the new laws on drug-impaired driving contained in Bill C-46 to educating the public on the health and safety concerns around marijuana use.

"I think that there are too many unaddressed issues that need to be paid attention to for us to hurry into something like this, [given] the magnitude of this," Pallister said.

Wall, who told the CBC “there’s a lot of moving parts here”, said he was also concerned with establishing standardized rules across the country on matters such as labelling.

Last month, Alberta’s Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley told the CBC the province would be looking to share information and ideas on legalization with Saskatchewan.

"We should be working across [jurisdictions] to look at each other’s models," she said. "Obviously that’s reliant on people’s willingness to share information and I’ve certainly had some initial conversations with Saskatchewan… because we have some common interests. Certainly there are some people willing to work with us and we're willing to work with them.”

An area of particular concern to Alberta is the effect of legalization on the workplace.

Much like concerns over the roadside testing of drivers for marijuana impairment, employers are concerned, according to the CBC, “the science of detecting and measuring (marijuana) impairment is incomplete.”

The gaps in knowledge over marijuana testing led Derrick Hynes, executive director of FETCO, an employers' association comprised of federally regulated transportation and communications firms, to recommend to the federal task force on legalization last September that the start of a recreational market be delayed until a standard for marijuana impairment can be determined and In it he said the government should delay legalization until experts agree on an established definition of marijuana impairment and "the technology exists to test for impairment to this standard in a proven and reliable manner."
“It's what makes marijuana different,” Hynes said in an interview. “There currently is no ‘roadside test’ to determine impairment. And further, there is no legislated standard for what level constitutes impairment in an individual.”

Related: The last name of the owner of Canada’s first cannabis lounge is, of course, Roach

“E” vs “SG” in ethical investing: how sustainable is mollification-by-cherrypicking

In the great game of whack-a-mole that is capital raising in Canada’s oil patch, it must be frustrating, for those whose full-time job when there isn’t a global pandemic is whacking the moles of ESG criteria on which they feel their companies may be vulnerable to criticism a...

4Front Ventures has an upside of 245%, says Beacon Securities

Having right-sized the ship, 4Front Ventures (4Front Ventures Stock Quote, Chart, News CSE:FFNT) is primed for a strong H2 2020, according to Beacon Securities analyst Doug Cooper, who reviewed the cannabis company’s latest quarterly results in an update to clients on Tuesday....

Fire & Flower is our Top Pick in cannabis, says AltaCorp

AltaCorp Capital analyst David Kideckel is staying with Fire & Flower (Fire & Flower Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:FAF) as his “Top Pick” in the cannabis space after the cannabis retailer’s recent quarterly earnings. In an update to clients Tuesday, Kideckel said FAF’s Hi...

Flower One is a beaten down pot stock worth owning: Mackie Research

Mackie Research analyst Greg McLeish likes the look of US cannabis play Flower One (Flower One Stock Quote, Chart, News CSE:FONE) after the company latest quarterly results. McLeish reviewed FONE’s fourth quarter 2019 and year-end results in an update to clients on Wednesday a...

The new reality: hoarding or avoiding using cash because of Covid- 19 and the relevance of Quantitative Easing

Keynes wrote at length about the increased attachment to cash which he called increased liquidity preference in a time of crisis which leads to a rise in the rate of interest as there are limits to the amount of cash in circulation. Keynes puts it as follows in his Quarterly Jou...

The political economy of Covid 19 in the early 21st century

The covid pandemic has had already a very significant impact beginning with the tragic death of over 100,000 people in North America alone. 6545 in Canada, 7633 in Mexico and a staggering 99,459 in the United States. World wide the total number of deaths is 347,873.As the New Yo...

Fiscal Conservatives renew their attack on government spending complaining that Covid -19 counter measures excessively increase deficits and government share of the economy

The American largely Republican Party dominated fiscal conservative lobby of policy advisors, academics and commentators have begun once again to try to undermine the very sensible congressional policy spending and investment plans which Congress has passed and which the House h...

What are Canada’s de minimis thresholds for courier shipments?

When it was announced that Canada, the United States and Mexico had reached an agreement to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), one of the important changes was an increase to the de minimis threshold, which is the monetary value of courier shipments tha...

March 27, 2020

So the markets did not have a nice time today: Canada’s main stock market resumed its slide after a three-day winning run as investors grew more nervous about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the Bank of Canada slashed interest rates to nearly zero. The Toronto ...

March 30, 2020

Oil action is in the news today: Energy stocks led Canada’s main stock index higher on Monday, despite a plunge in crude prices as the market waits for news of support from Ottawa for the oil and gas industry. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unof...