Liberal MP Bill Blair spoke out this Tuesday, giving the clearest sign so far that government licensed producers will have a large part to play in the federal pledge to legalize cannabis.
Blair, the Liberal’s point person on the legalization file, spoke at a cannabis conference that included many licensed producers, saying that the government sanctioned growers offered a strong model for the country to base its forthcoming regulations.
“I have come to believe it is possible … for marijuana to be produced in a way that maximizes safety for Canadians,” Blair said, calling the procedures followed by the LPs “exhaustive and exacting.”
The MP said he was skeptical that cannabis could be safely produced until he visited a facility operated by Bedrocan, impressing him with the Health Canada standards that needed to be adhered to.
Blair had less kind words for the country’s medical cannabis dispensaries, calling them illegal.
“Participating in this business activity means that you must be willing to adhere to a strict set of regulations,” Blair said. “The current licensed producers are competing with people who don’t care about the law, who don’t care about regulations, don’t care about kids, they don’t care about communities, don’t care about health of Canadians. They’re pretty reckless about it. And so they’re selling anything to make a fast buck before we get the regulations put in place.”
Blair said the soon to be announced legalization task force will be consulting experts across the country, and that the business community will play a “very significant role” in the process.
The task force will present its findings to the government in November, leading to proposed regulations in spring, 2017.