Red Deer’s reaction mixed to federal marijuana task force recommendations

The federal marijuana task force may have outlined a path to legalizing marijuana, and the company planning to build a grow-operation in Burnt Lake is pleased with the ‘positive direction.’

Released on Tuesday, the report included more than 80 recommendations such as a national minimum age of purchase of 18; advertising and promotional restrictions; a mail-order system, and allowing storefronts with well-trained, knowledgeable staff, located away from schools, community centres and parks.

But it was the education and research announcement included that excited Wendy Konschuk, director and co-founder of MedCan Solutions.

“Education is such an important part going forward,” said Konschuk. “The stigma needs to change. It’s not going to happen by just assuming everybody knows all the facts.”

Using the revenue from its sale to fund education, prevention, research, enforcement and treatment programs is among the education-related recommendations.

MedCan recently received approval from Red Deer city council in September to build a medical marijuana facility on Burnt Park Drive.

“Our goal is for the research side of things,” said Konschuk, adding the announcement does nothing to impact the facility’s construction and licensing.

The task force has also recommended an investment in research to better link THC levels with impairment and crash risk. Konschuk wondered aloud if there was the potential for grants for research into marijuana, something they want to do at the Burnt Park Drive facility.

As part of their winning 2015 campaign, the Liberal government promised to legalize recreational marijuana. The task force set about making recommendations to the government on a step forward with that pledge.

According to the task force, they are taking a public health approach to marijuana regulation.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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