Just a few days after our Chief of Police said the legalization of marijuana is a good decision and shouldn't be a big deal, our Mayor isn't sure where he falls on the issue. Fraser Tolmie isn't committing just yet, saying he wants more information before he'll make a decision on whether or not City Hall will get involved in the cannabis legalization debate.
Details released this week show that two cannabis retail licenses will be issued for Moose Jaw as the province prepares for legalization this July, part of an initial 60 licenses being issue for 40 communities. That same announcement revealed that some communities may be able to opt out of having stores.
That option to ban stores from selling cannabis inside the city is something Mayor Tolmie isn't sure about just yet. "I'm in favour of the medicinal (use) but I'm really not in favour of the recreational use of cannabis."
As some American states make the switch, there have been communities that have passed local bylaws to ban the sale of cannabis and the provincial government has said that our municipalities should have the option. Details from the province are light at this point with no clear indication on how a community can opt out or even what the legal age of consumption will be.
Tolmie wants all of those details before even opening up the debate on how Moose Jaw will proceed. Until that happens, he plans to talk to residents and see what they think.
"I've had a few groups come to me and meet with me with regards to what they would like to do with shops." said Tolmie. "I'm out and about quite a bit and I know that people do raise their concerns with things like this and we'll have conversations about that."
Moose Jaw Police Chief Rick Bourassa has been heavily involved with advising the provincial government and the federal government on the pending legalization of cannabis in July. Following the Monday announcement, Bourassa said the move is not likely going to create too many issues.
"I want to be careful when I speak for myself and not for the police organization... this is not a big leap for me and I think all will work out well. It's a change and a bit of a change of mind set but I don't see it being a huge deal. When all is said and done in a couple of years, it will be not even noticeable."
"The decision was made to regulate it and I think that it's probably a good decision and that we will be eventually served quite well." added Bourassa.