Fines for improper use of recreational cannabis in Saskatchewan will range from $200 to $2,250 once it is legalized in October.
“The goal was to have fines that would be an appropriate disincentive for certain kinds of conduct, but were also publicly acceptable,” Justice Minister Don Morgan said.
There are three offences that would land users a $200 ticket. This includes smoking cannabis in a public place, possessing or consuming cannabis in a campground where it is prohibited, and possessing or distributing more than 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public place.
Under the federal law, people are not allowed to possess more than 30 grams of dried cannabis at a time.
Possessing, consuming or distributing marijuana in a vehicle will result in a $300 ticket. This does not apply in cases where someone is transporting it from a legal point of purchase to a legal point of consumption.
If you decide to sell pot to a minor, that can result in a $750 ticket. Another part of the plan to keep marijuana away from minors is a heavy fine for using at a school or childcare facility; a $1,000 fine.
“One of the major considerations when we went into this was trying to keep marijuana out of schools and out of the hands of children. Bringing marijuana into a school area we knew would be a significant issue so we wanted to have a large disincentive there,” Morgan noted.
The heaviest potential fine is for permitted retailers. They can receive a $2,250 penalty for failing to demand proof of age or selling to a minor.
“Cannabis is new. We’re worried about what the effect might be, so we’re starting with a higher penalty structure,” Morgan explained.
“Alcohol is something that’s been around for as long as the province has been in existence, and it’s something where people have a greater understanding and acceptance, so we want to have a greater disincentive, at least at the beginning.”
These new rules will only come into effect once recreational cannabis is legalized, and The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act is proclaimed. Morgan expects the policing of these procedures to be similar to the way alcohol penalties are imposed.
“We think it’s like alcohol, they don’t go out looking for offences, but when they come across them we expect them to lay the charges and it enforce them in the ordinary course,” he said.]
The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act is expected to be implemented on October 17, 2018.
Until then, recreational marijuana use is illegal, and current penalties apply.
With files from Colton Praill