Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Monday, September 11, 2017

Today – Sunny. High 23. UV index 7 or high.

Tonight – Partly cloudy. Low 10.

LCBO to oversee marijuana sales in Ontario

In response to the federal government’s plan to legalize cannabis by July 2018, Ontario is committing to “a safe and sensible framework” to govern the lawful use and retail of recreational cannabis as a carefully controlled substance within the province.

Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General, Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced last week that legislation will be introduced later this fall, following the conclusion of provincewide consultations.

Ontario’s approach to the legalization of cannabis will be informed by the province’s experience in managing tobacco and alcohol, as well as practical lessons of other jurisdictions that have recently legalized cannabis.

This approach will focus on ensuring a safe and sensible transition to federal legalization, government officials say.

Key elements include:

– The proposed minimum age to use, purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario will be 19. The use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited in public places and workplaces.

– The LCBO will oversee the legal retail of cannabis in Ontario through new stand-alone cannabis stores and an online order service. This approach will ensure that there will be only one legal retail distributor for cannabis in Ontario and alcohol and cannabis are not sold alongside each other.

– Approximately 150 standalone stores will be opened by 2020, including 80 by July 1, 2019, servicing all regions of the province. Online distribution will be available across the province from July 2018 onward.

– Illicit cannabis dispensaries are not and will not be legal retailers. The province will pursue a coordinated and proactive enforcement strategy, working with municipalities, local police services, the OPP and the federal government to help shut down these illegal operations.

– Ontario will prohibit individuals under the age of 19 from possessing or consuming recreational cannabis, which will allow police to confiscate small amounts of cannabis from young people. The province’s approach to protecting youth will focus on prevention, diversion, and harm reduction without unnecessarily bringing them into contact with the justice system.

“We’ve heard people across Ontario are anxious about the federal legalization of cannabis,” Naqvi stated in a press release.

“The province is moving forward with a safe and sensible approach to legalization that will ensure we can keep our communities and roads safe, promote public health and harm reduction, and protect Ontario’s young people.”

Government officials say the province will support young people and vulnerable populations through the development of an integrated prevention and harm reduction approach that would promote awareness of cannabis-related health harms and help people make informed decisions about use.

The approach will also include education, health and social service providers that work with, and educate, youth and young adults.

Decisions with respect to pricing and taxation will be made after further details are provided by the federal government. Final decisions will be informed by focusing on the objectives of discouraging consumption and eliminating the illegal market.

“We are committed to getting this transition right,” Sousa sated.

“When it comes to retail distribution, the LCBO has the expertise, experience and insight to ensure careful control of cannabis, helping us to discourage illicit market activity and see that illegal dispensaries are shut down.”

In the lead up to federal legalization, to help ensure public awareness of this transition and the new measures that will take effect, the government will also undertake a public information campaign in coordination with the federal government.

Ontario intends to consult closely with municipalities, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders to determine additional details about the retail and distribution system.

More details:

– Ontario is the first province or territory in Canada to publicly announce a comprehensive plan to regulate federally legalized cannabis.

– The government recently made changes allowing police to immediately remove drivers from the road who they believe are impaired by drugs, including cannabis.

– According to a 2015 report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 45 per cent of Ontario adults have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, while about 15 per cent have used cannabis in the past year.

– In eight U.S. states that have legalized cannabis, the minimum age for sale has also been aligned with the minimum age of alcohol consumption.

More details, here and here.

Poll question: Do you agree with the legalization of marijuana?

It has been a highly debated topic, let us know what you think by voting below:

Poll results: Should ‘Children At Play’ and similar signs be re-installed in Chatham-Kent?

No 49.66% (73 votes)

Yes 40.14% (59 votes)

Yes, if money is raised by residents 5.44% (8 votes)

Not sure 4.76% (7 votes)

Total Votes: 147

More background on this story is available, here: Concerns raised after ‘Children At Play’ signs removed

Save your seeds for the CKPL

Chatham-Kent Public Library launched CKPL Grows Seed Libraries at the Chatham, Ridgetown, Wallaceburg and Tilbury branches this year, offering a variety of vegetable, herb, fruit and flower seeds at each location.

This spring, CKPL Grows Seed Libraries lent over 1,300 seed packages in Wallaceburg, Ridgetown, Tilbury, and Chatham. CKPL hopes that all those seeds flourished, helping to create healthy food and beautiful spaces in the community.

Now CKPL Grows Seed Library needs your help.

CKPL would greatly appreciate if community gardeners could save their seeds this year and donate them to CKPL Grows Seed Libraries to be used again next season.

Seed donations of any variety can be dropped off at any CKPL branch. With the communities’ help, CKPL can continue to grow the Seed Libraries and offer more seeds at more locations in 2018.

What is CKPL Grows Seed Library? CKPL’s Seed Libraries provide free seeds for residents to borrow so they can grow healthy gardens, have access to affordable food, and create beautiful spaces in their own backyards and local communities.

What do you need to check out seeds from CKPL Grows Seed Libraries?

All you need is a valid CKPL library card.

For more information on library programs or services, please visit ckpl.ca or call 519-354-2940.

Photo of the day

(Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

September is Addiction Recovery Month and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent showed its support with a brief ceremony and flag-raising at the Civic Centre Wednesday,

Councillor Brock McGregor represented council.

Recovery Day Chatham committee member Shawn Rumble said the group will be hosting events within Tecumseh Park on Saturday Sept. 23 from 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information on recovery day visit https://www.recoverydaycanada.com/.

World news

If you have a suggestion, story idea, column idea, or if you want to say hello… drop me an e-mail at aaron@sydenhamcurrent.ca.

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