The Manitoba Government has revealed some of the finer details about who can purchase legalized marijuana.
Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says Manitobans who are 19 or older will be able to buy, possess and use recreational cannabis.
“By setting a minimum age of 19, our government is confident that we will see greater success keeping cannabis out of schools and out of the hands of our youth,” stated Stefanson during her opening remarks. “Setting the minimum age at 19 will also help ensure that young Manitobans delay cannabis use at a critical time in their lives.”
Stefanson also noted it will be illegal for anyone to grow cannabis at home for recreational purposes.
There would be increased penalties for offences under The Liquor and Gaming Control Act, which is being proposed to be renamed the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act, to a maximum fine of $100-thousand dollars or a year imprisonment.
For corporations the consequences would be a maximum fine of $500-thousand for offences such as selling marijuana from an unlicensed producer or selling it as an unlicensed retailer.
Purchase and Distribution
Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen explained how recreational marijuana will be bought and distributed in Manitoba.
The Liquor and Gaming Authority would be renamed the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority, and it would be responsible for licensing cannabis stores and distributors, in addition to regulating the retail sale of cannabis in the province once it is legalized July 1st, 2018.
He also mentioned what the role of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries would be.
“M-B-L-L will be responsible for securing and tracking supply of cannabis. M-B-L-L will source from federally licensed producers; all orders for retail store inventory will be processed through M-B-L-L in order to maintain a high level control and audit ability and to prevent diversion of product.” Pedersen said.
A request for proposals for those who want to operate one or more retail cannabis stores is open until December 22nd.
The Role of Manitoba Municipalities
Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton talked about the role municipal government’s will have when marijuana becomes legal next July.
The legislation we introduced today gives municipalities the ability to prohibit the retail of cannabis sales in their communities,” Wharton said. “The bill includes local option provisions to establish a formal and consistent process for all municipalities that may consider prohibiting the retail sale of cannabis.”
But he notes municipalities cannot prohibit the consumption of marijuana on people’s property.
He says the government remains in close contact with municipalities about their views on retail cannabis stores.