Manitoba premier mulls expanded cannabis ban to include sprays and more

WINNIPEG — “I’ve never seen this before.”

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, sitting in his legislature office for a year-end interview, is looking at a 15-ml container of cannabis spray. It’s one of the ways through which recreational cannabis can be consumed since legalization in October.

It is discreet, quick, smokeless and — perhaps surprisingly under Manitoba law — legal to consume in most public places.

“My lunch could be really good,” Pallister jokes before handing it back to the reporter who brought it to him.

The premier has said on more than one occasion he’s more of a beer man.

Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government is not alone in having to adjust to the complex realities of legalized recreational cannabis.

Across the country, governments have had to set down rules on where pot can be smoked, vaped, dripped, sprayed, eaten and sold. Police forces scrambled to get equipment to test motorists for the drug.

Pallister considers the Manitoba model for retail outlets a success. The province charges a wholesale markup and regulates distribution and sales, while the private sector operates the stores. And while every province has experienced supply shortages, retailers in Manitoba have not faced the same scarcity as those in Quebec, Ontario and other jurisdictions.

More than a dozen stores opened in Manitoba in the weeks following legalization. They are run by four companies that had been selected earlier.

Pallister expects more retailers to be approved in the new year with the aim of eating into the long-established black market.

“We’ve got to get the black market out of this stuff, or (else) why are we doing it?”

One area where Manitoba has been caught off guard is in public consumption. Many other provinces have banned using cannabis in any form in most public areas, but Manitoba’s law was written specific to smoking or vaping (except in vehicles, boats and schools, where all consumption is prohibited).

As a result, it’s open season for cannabis oil, sprays, gels and capsules.

“I thought oils were with edibles and not available until next year (under federal law),” Pallister said.

The federal government delayed legalizing sales of edibles until sometime in 2019, although people are already allowed to make their own with legally purchased cannabis.

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen has said the province is considering expanding the ban on public consumption to cover all forms of cannabis. Pallister said a decision has not yet been made.

“We’ll have to inquire and find out.”

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with killing his wife makes court appearance

Satnam Singh Sandhu charged with second-degree murder in connection with death of Kulvinder Sandhu

Red Deer-conceived Fringe play that pokes fun at aging actors gets a local run

The Thin Grey Line, by Blaine Newton, runs Sept. 27-30 at downtown library

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

CALGARY — An environmental law group is threatening legal action if the… Continue reading

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9 per cent in August as gas prices weaken

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent… Continue reading

Iran tells US retaliation looms if targeted for Saudi attack

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has warned the U.S. it will retaliate “immediately”… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

Most Read