TORONTO – Recreational marijuana should be treated like tobacco in public places and alcohol in motor vehicles, the City of Toronto health board recommends.In a wide-ranging report that will go to Toronto council, board members asked that non-medical cannabis be sold by a provincial-controlled agency — but not with alcohol — and that the minimum age for purchase be set at 19.Pot use should be banned where regular tobacco smoking is not permitted, and — like drinking alcohol — prohibited in vehicles, the board decided.City health officials are also asking the federal government to decriminalize recreational marijuana use immediately, pending the passage of legislation to legalize and regulate it, to end the legal no-man’s-land that sees people still being charged with possession while pot shops spread across the city.Health board chair Joe Mihevc likened the coming legislation of pot to the end of alcohol prohibition.“They had to figure out, ‘Where are we going to sell this product? How are we going to sell this product? What are the age limits?’” Mihevc said Monday. “I support the legalization of cannabis … We’re not putting it in the paradigm of fruits and vegetables — this is not about broccoli and carrots.”Instead, Toronto public health officials want regulations drawn up by the federal and provincial governments for non-medical marijuana to reflect possible health risks, including cancer, impaired operation of a motor vehicle and addiction.Health board members heard that second-hand marijuana smoke is a concern, as is the impact of use on a youth’s brain development.The largest demographic of pot users in the country are those ages 18 to 24, the board heard.The health board said people should not be able to smoke or vape pot recreationally any place that tobacco smoking is prohibited, but that would allow for its use in parks and other open spaces.Councillor Sarah Doucette said residents report people parking haphazardly by weed dispensaries and there’s also the possibly that customers are using cannabis while in those locations and coming out high.“And residents are scared because they then get in their cars and drive through out community, past our schools, down our local streets,” she said. “The federal government needs to hurry up and do something with this.”Councillor Paula Fletcher said dispensaries may appear to be small local shops but they’re operated by big business — staff at one clinic in her ward were unionized.“There are a plethora of businesses selling marijuana,” she said. “It’s been a really difficult time … sometimes there’s five or six of them all in one place.”Councillor Mike Layton said there’s little council can do under the current regulatory regime to control the proliferation of the pot [email protected]
Join Craig from Expert Joints as he provides color commentary on the Cannabis Growers of Canada Longest Putt Challenge at the 1st Annual Fore20 Cup in Squamish.
More information on the event can be found online at www.fore20cup.ca
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