Finance Minister of P.E.I., Allen Roach, recently commented that right now it is far too early to consider selling legal cannabis in Prince Edward Island liquor stores. “I’ll be honest with you, marijuana being sold anywhere in P.E.I. is not on my agenda right now. It’s premature to say we’re going to do it at the liquor stores or through any other way of selling it.” Roach said.
The whole issue was started based on Premier Kathleen Wynn’s comments in December, when she stated that the provincially regulated liquor stores would be the ideal place to allow the sale of legalized cannabis and she is not the only MP who feels this way. The Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, also is promoting the idea of selling cannabis through provincial liquor stores, in addition to British Columbia officials who are actively pressuring the federal government to allow the liquor stores to sell marijuana once legal.
Prince Edward Island on the other hand is taking a more cautious approach. According to Finance Minister Roach, “At this point in time it’s not yet legalized. I’m not sure what the federal government’s time frame and agenda is on that or how or when they intend on rolling it out, but I’m sure that there’s going to be a lot of debate in Ottawa before we get to that point.”
Roach himself is a former RCMP officer and has been a long-time advocate for decriminalizing cannabis. He notes that “I’ve seen enough over my time, and I’ve spent a lot of time in drug enforcement, and I’ve believed for many years that possession of marijuana, for those very simple possession charges, should have been decriminalized.”
Roach continued, “We have a lot of people who have experimented with marijuana, they have a very small quantity on them, they’re trying it, it’s curiosity. And I felt that for someone to have, let’s say, half a gram or a gram of marijuana and for them to be charged and have a criminal record because of that, I’ve always felt that wasn’t perhaps necessary.”
He says that in the meantime, the province will observe what happens in Ottawa and then have a debate about how to legally distribute cannabis after the federal government has made more definitive changes. Roach concluded by saying “My own belief is that it’s way out in front of us at this time… I think we’ll have a lot of time in the interim to discuss how it’s going to be rolled out.”