OTTAWA – Health Minister Jane Philpott will speak to a Senate committee today about proposed changes to tobacco laws, including plans for plain packaging — a measure that could also influence Ottawa’s plans for legalizing marijuana.
The federal government’s task force has recommended keeping brands off legal pot, an idea that has marijuana producers nervous as the government prepares to introduce its legalization bill Thursday.
Philpott has been mum on the legislation’s contents, but says there are public health lessons to take from Canada’s experience with tobacco.
Multiple producers have been lobbying the government to warn that if they are prevented from branding their products, it will be harder for legal pot to compete with its black-market counterpart.
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Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole, a former public safety critic for his party, says the federal government should pick up the tab for additional law enforcement costs resulting from legalization.
He says he would rather see a “hybrid” version of decriminalization that would allow police to ticket users, while retaining the ability to lay a criminal charge at their discretion.