Dozens of Manitobans voiced their concerns over the proposed legalization of marijuana with the country’s point man on pot Tuesday.
MP Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, stopped into Winnipeg as part of an ongoing tour that aims to educate on and clarify the federal government’s proposed marijuana legislation.
Blair fielded questions from marijuana advocates, politicians and First Nations representatives, talking about topics ranging from impaired driving to possession penalties.
“Many people are very fearful of change but the current system is failing our kids and communities,” Blair said. “When we properly explain what can actually be achieved through very responsible regulation, people are reassured by that.
“This is a pretty significant policy shift. We want it to be evidence-based but we also want it to be consulted on.”
On Tuesday, many of the town hall’s questions revolved around First Nations pot collaboration. Dennis Cameron, who attended the forum, said he hopes both the federal and provincial governments take Indigenous businesses into account while finalizing their plans.
Blair also addressed the Fed’s relationship with Brian Pallister’s PC government, saying that the sides have had “useful conversations” as the country approaches July’s legalization date. Pallister has previously stated the federal government’s deadline is too soon.
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On Tuesday, Blair said that he’s confident both governments have the same interest in mind: protecting communities and families.
“We don’t have to see eye-to-eye on everything,” Blair said.