The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has revealed some — not all — of the details on its plans for legalized marijuana, with the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. (NLC) playing a lead role.
The powers are being brought in as amendments to the Liquor Corporation Act and Liquor Control Act, with additional legislation coming in spring 2018.
Right now, there are a few clear policy stances:
• Legal age will be 19 and it will be illegal for youth to be in possession of any amount (a provincial, not federal, offence)
• Use will be restricted to private residences, but that includes your shed, garage, etc., on your property
• Generally speaking, restrictions applying to tobacco use will apply to marijuana
• The province has identified potential suppliers to start and is in discussions for what will be in the hands of the NLC in time for legalization.
• The NLC will have an online store. An RFP, expected to go out before Christmas, will determine end retail locations (They will be licensed by NLC).
• Right now, sales in locations where alcohol is also sold will be discouraged. It will not be prohibited, by legislation under proposal, given some areas of province would not support a stand-alone cannabis shop.
• On taxation, the province is set to apply the federally proposed excise tax of $1 per gram or 10 per cent of the retail price. That will be 50-50 split between the provincial and federal government. The province says it does not think it is a fair share, so is trying to negotiate that tax.
• The decisions to date are restricted to smoking and vaping, and do not address edibles.
No decisions have yet been made on private growing.
“Sanctions for youth possession are to be determined, but are likely to be based on the alcohol model,” said Justice Minister Andrew Parsons, who also told reporters impaired driving has no place on our roads.
Legalization is set for July 2018.