3 July 2016

The Star Phoenix Saskatoon reports

A Saskatchewan law professor will be one of the people deciding how pot will become legalized in Canada.

The federal government is launching a task force to study the legalization and regulation of marijuana, after committing to introduce legislation on the legalization of pot in the spring of 2017.

University of Saskatchewan law professor Barbara von Tigerstrom is among the people the government has tapped to help guide that process.

“It’s a daunting challenge but a really important one,” von Tigerstrom said after the task force was unveiled.

No decisions have been made about what the eventual law will look like, Health Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday.

“We have put those questions to the task force and we look forward to their recommendations,” she said. “We will take those recommendations into consideration.”

The group will meet with provincial, territorial and municipal governments over the coming weeks and months, Philpott said.

While she has no specific expertise in the area of marijuana policy, von Tigerstrom has written extensively about alcohol and tobacco regulation and health implications.

“I have no stated view on that or what the regulations should look like,” she said.

The task force is in the process of developing “concrete plans” on how to best consult with Canadians before it submits its findings, she said, adding the online consultation will likely be the best way for people to make sure their voices are heard.

Von Tigerstrom acknowledged that while the task force will look specifically at federal regulations, individual provinces will have their say.

“It’s going to be quite the task,” she said.

The group — made up of experts in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and justice — will be chaired by former Liberal public safety minister Anne McLellan.

McLellan, who also served as deputy prime minister, said the last decade has brought a deeper understanding of the marijuana landscape.

“I think so many people have come to the conclusion, for so many reasons, that the current situation is not working and we need a better way forward,” she said.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould did not say Thursday how much it will cost taxpayers to conduct consultations. She noted the government will ensure the task force complies with all Treasury Board guidelines for travel and expenses.


Barbara von Tigerstrom 



IMAGE:The Star Phoenix Saskatoon