Legal marijuana must be competitive: Blair

MONTREAL — There is an overwhelming national consensus that legal marijuana must be priced, taxed and made available competitively with the black market, the man tasked with leading the drug’s legalization in Canada said Monday.

All the provinces agree more needs to be done to better protect children and to take away revenues from organized criminals, MP Bill Blair said in an interview Monday.

Canada plans on legalizing marijuana by July 2018 by allowing adults to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, and to grow up to four plants per household.

Distribution and sale of the drug is up to the provinces, however, and there are still questions about how much they will tax marijuana or restrict its availability on their territory.

Blair has been on a national tour speaking with municipal and provincial politicians and other stakeholders regarding the fast-approaching legalization deadline.

The details are still unclear as to how provinces such as Quebec will legislate the distribution, price and access of legal pot and public consultations are ongoing across the province.

Blair said while there will savings to the provinces by reducing the number of marijuana-related arrests and cases moving through the criminal court system, an investment up-front will still be required.

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