It’s all about the do and don’t … or if you’re the provincial government, the “can and can’t” when it comes to cannabis.
The province, along with the newly anointed Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA), unveiled its weed education campaign.
With differing laws between each province, the government said it’s important to make sure Manitobans know what the rules are at home.
“The legalization of cannabis is a significant challenge for the Manitoba government,” Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said. “In addition to keeping cannabis out of the hands of our kids and away from the black market, it is our job to make sure Manitobans are prepared with the information they need to make responsible choices.”
The campaign has five key messages:
- You must be 19+ years old to buy or consume cannabis in Manitoba
- You can only buy legal cannabis from licensed retailers
- You can’t grow cannabis at home in Manitoba
- You can carry up to 30 grams of cannabis in public in Manitoba
- You can’t smoke or vape cannabis in public in Manitoba
“We are doing everything we can as a province to make sure we are ready for that October date and part of that is education,” Cullen said. “There’s a lot of misconceptions out there.”
The $250,000 campaign is pushing hard to make sure people know the legal age is 19 and that marijuana cannot be smoked or vaped in public.
“Public education is key for public safety,” Liz Stephenson, chief administrative officer of the LGCA said. “Campaigns like this will help us get factual information to Manitobans aged 19 and older who may choose to use this product legally.”
While the province is pushing hard to educate Manitobans there is still a lot to be done on its part ahead of legalization in six weeks.
“there’s a lot of things we have to do on the enforcement side to be ready,” Cullen said. “We would have preferred the Feds to have allowed us some more time to make sure all of the provinces would be fully operational before.”
The Federal government approved one road-side screening device on Aug. 27 and the province said police in Manitoba are currently being trained. However, it is unclear whether they will have the devices ahead of the legalization date.
“We certainly intend to have these devices available for the police, hopefully by the Oct. 17 deadline, but that’s one of the contributing factors in rushing decisions like this,” he said.
The Winnipeg police reiterated road-side devices are just one tool officers use when looking for impaired drivers.
“We will be getting trained and have a few of the approved devices, but there are several others on the horizon that are waiting for approval from the Federal Government,” Const. Rob Carver said. “Police services will evaluate and determine the potential use of drug screening devices within their service while recognizing that the science and technology will continuously improve. This represents a positive start, but by no means represents an end.”
This is the first of two campaigns being rolled out ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization date.
The LGCA will launch a second campaign shortly before legalization, outlining responsible use strategies.
Advertisements will appear on billboards, transit and public space posters around the province, as well as online and through social media.