Justice Minister Andrew Parsons unveiled legislation Thursday to allow for legal cannabis sales in the province.
Three key policies announced include:
- The legal age to purchase and possess cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador will be 19 years – in line with alcohol;
- Place of use will be restricted to private residences; and
- Private retailers will be used to sell cannabis.
Amendments to the Liquor Corporation Act will be debated in the House of Assembly to grant the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) the necessary authority to ensure there is a legal and safe supply of cannabis available to interested consumers next July. The amendments enable the NLC to:
- Buy, import and sell cannabis;
- Control the possession, sale and delivery of cannabis;
- Establish, maintain and operate cannabis stores;
- Issue licences for the possession, sale and delivery of cannabis;
- Determine the forms, manner and fee associated with licences for cannabis; and
- Set prices of cannabis.
With approval of the amendments to the Liquor Corporation Act, a Request for Proposals will be issued to identify private retailers interested in selling cannabis.
The legislative amendments and policies come after considerable public consultation. The province has also examined what other jurisdictions are doing, and have spoken with many community groups, health professionals, business organizations and others.
The policies will promote public health and safety, discourage use of cannabis by youth, encourage responsible use by adults, keep the profits from the sale of cannabis out of the hands of criminals, and reduce the burden on the criminal justice system.
Additional legislation to enact the policy announcements and to support other elements of the overall framework will be introduced into the House of Assembly in spring 2018.
The Provincial Government remains in active discussion with other provinces and territories, and the Government of Canada, with regard to matters related to the legalization of cannabis.