Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil isn’t saying whether he’s in favour of legalizing pot but says he certainly won’t be lighting up if it does become legal.
“Never smoked it (and) don’t plan on smoking it whether it’s legal or not legal,” McNeil said Wednesday, the same day Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott announced her government will introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in the spring of 2017.
McNeil’s Tory and NDP counterparts also won’t be taking up the bud once it’s legal.
“I am in fact a fifth generation teetotaller,” NDP leader Gery Burrill said.
The only major party leader who said he’s tried pot is Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie, although he said he didn’t take to it.
“Didn’t really like it very much and haven’t had it since,” he said.
McNeil refused to say whether he supports the Trudeau government’s intentions, calling it a decision for the federal government to make.
Despite his lukewarm reaction, McNeil said Nova Scotia will make sure the legal change is implemented with safeguards in place.
“Canadians are asking for it, Canadians believe it’s time to have marijuana legalized.”
Both provincial opposition parties said they would prefer to see marijuana decriminalized rather than legalized outright.
More questions than answers as Canada inches closer to legalization
Who will be able to access pot, how it will be sold and what controls will be in place are all questions the provincial government said it wants a say on.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Diana Whalen said the province already has an internal working group looking at how it could work in Nova Scotia, but said she also wants her government to give input to the federal government.
“This is the right thing to do it’s just how it’s done,” Whalen said. “We certainly want to be at the table and help the federal government as they work out the details.”
One of the options the province is looking at is using the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) stores to sell pot, but Whalen said she is also looking at standalone stores.
Dealing with any possible health impacts and ensuring the legal change doesn’t lead to an increase of impaired driving are some of the considerations Whalen is looking at.
“We’ll have to work very much with the evidence that we have and with our partners in health to see how best to go forward,” she said.
McNeil said the law change will mean a boost to the province’s books, but it’s not clear yet how much money the government could rake in.
“I’m sure there will be tax revenue, yes,” McNeil said.