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With July 2018 quickly approaching, the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit is preparing for the legalization of marijuana.
Health Unit Manager Lynda Bumstead says all municipalities across Grey and Bruce must be ready for next July.
Legalization of cannabis will have a local impact whether it be through policing, licensing, public health services and eventually distribution sites.
In the meantime she says only 40 stores have been approved as distribution sites across Ontario, with Barrie, Kitchener and London being the closest at this time to our area.
Bumstead says it is important communities are aware of the implications coming out of the legalization of cannabis.
She notes the province’s minimum age of 19 to use, buy, possess and cultivate cannabis is very concerning.
She says this is because at age 19 the human brain is still developing.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit had unsuccessfully lobbied the Province to set the minimum age at 25 instead.
Dave Roy of the Hope Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services agrees that age 25 would be a far better age to set as the minimum.
He adds the legalization will likely increase pot usage in the area, and not just among the young but also among the baby boomers who may decide to return to it..
Hope says his concern is that the upcoming legalization of cannabis normalizes pot for many, which may cause some to think there is no harm associated with this drug.
In the meantime as the Province prepare for the Federal Cannabis Legalization there is much to be done.
This includes creating a new provincial retailer overseen by the LCBO to ensure safe distribution of recreational cannabis.
Like tobacco, marijuana will be banned from public places, workplaces and motor vehicles.