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Saskatchewan residents want to keep pot out of kids’ hands: survey

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan residents want to keep pot out of kids’ hands: survey' Saskatchewan residents want to keep pot out of kids’ hands: survey
The province is sharing the findings of its public survey on marijuana use. Questions ranged from who should sell marijuana, to the age you can buy it. David Baxter reports – Nov 23, 2017

An online government survey in Saskatchewan has found that keeping cannabis out of the hands of children is the top priority for respondents when recreational pot is legalized.

The province says nearly 35,000 people took part in the survey — a record high — to help provide input as it develops rules governing recreational marijuana sales and consumption.

READ MORE: Many companies dazed and confused on how to handle legal pot: survey

The single most popular choice for a sales outlet are government run retailers, similar to SLGA stores, at 45 per cent. However, support for private retailers is split amongst a number small businesses (37 per cent), national corporate retailers (3 per cent) and pharmacies (10 per cent).

However, Attorney General Don Morgan said the government will be working under the notion private retailers have majority support.

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“I’d indicated earlier that was the preferred method of the government. We’re still finalizing things. We don’t want to be in the business of either retailing, warehousing, or distributing. We want to be in the business of regulating,” Morgan said.

The Canadian Cancer Society strongly favours a government led retail approach that would see marijuana sold independently of alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco control and government relations manager Donna Pasiechnik cited problems encountered with private tobacco sales.

“We see a lot of retail establishments selling to kids, and I think the fewer retail stores the more restrictions and regulations the less likely it will get into the hands of kids,” she said.

The survey also found more than 63 per cent of respondents believe pot should be available through a mix of retail and online sales and that nearly 46 per cent believe the legal age to buy marijuana should be 19.

Pasiechnik said the Cancer Society favours 21 as a means of keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors. She said many youths get their hands on tobacco by asking older peers. She said teenagers are less like to have 21-year-old friends than 19 and 18-year olds. A minimum age of 21 only had 19 per cent support in the survey.

The province says it will be releasing its framework document outlining the future of cannabis legalization in Saskatchewan in the near future.

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The opposition NDP is still drafting their marijuana policy, but heard concern from business and medicinal marijuana stakeholders that government consultation was lacking.

“What we’ve done is when we heard that we’ve made sure we’ve passed that onto government to make sure that as fulsome a consultation as we think they should be doing,” Opposition leader Nicole Sarauer said.

With files from David Baxter

Below is the complete survey results:

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