Charlottetown MP Sean Casey hosted a townhall on “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation” Wednesday evening to provide an overview of the Government of Canada’s approach to legalizing, regulating and restricting access to cannabis. Mr. Casey was joined by panelists Dennis MacKenzie from National Access Cannabis, Dr. David Sabapathy, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer for the province, and Nick Flood, Regional Manager with Canadian Cannabis Clinics and CanvasRx.
“The turnout was great and there were lots of engaged questions from the audience” said moderator Annie MacEachern, a freelance communications consultant and advocate for safe cannabis distribution and consumption. Many people at the well-attended event had questions about distribution—questions that the panelists and Mr. Casey were unable to answer as distribution falls to the provinces. Provincial representatives were formally invited to attend, but all declined to do so, though the PEI Department of Health did send Dr. Sabapathy.
“Each of the panelists did a wonderful job answering questions with patience and detail when they were able to, but there were many questions surrounding provincial decisions such as zoning, retail/distribution, and consumption that were left unanswered” Said MacEachern. “I would love to see the provincial government take an interest in participating in the discussions that Islanders are having about the legalization of cannabis.” The provincial government had an online survey to solicit public feedback in August and September, but it has since closed.
Many in the audience were concerned about cannabis being treated the same as alcohol, and others saw a missed opportunity if entrepreneurs are not able to be a part of this emerging industry.
“It would be a shame for the government to be the sole distributor of cannabis. Allowing entrepreneurs to open dispensaries under strict regulation by the province would be good for our economy—small business always is” stated attendee Joey Mokler. “The people who are interested in this industry understand the product. They support public education and safety, and a free market model would better serve small communities, not just larger centres.”
While the province did not attend the event, all of the feedback gathered will be sent to the Federal and Provincial governments for their review.
– Nick Flood
Featured image by Chelsey R.
Nick Flood is a Regional Manager and Medical Outreach Educator with Canadian Cannabis Clinics and CanvasRx. A graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Nick’s insight into medical cannabis, the industry, current law and future trends makes him an informative and passionate speaker.
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