News / Ottawa

Ontario asking for online input on legalizing marijuana

Survey is open to the public from July 12 to 31.

In this Thursday, June 22, 2017, photo, different strains of marijuana are displayed at Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury, N.J.

Associated Press

In this Thursday, June 22, 2017, photo, different strains of marijuana are displayed at Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury, N.J.

A new online survey launched Wednesday wants to gather public thoughts on how Ontario should approach legalizing marijuana.

It wants to know how it can do it in a way that “protects youth, prevents harms and ensures that Ontario’s roads continue to be among the safest in North America,” according to a media release.

Among the questions are “Would you support the Ontario government putting in place stricter penalties (e.g. increased fines, longer licence suspensions) for drug-impaired driving?” and “What public health and safety measures are most important to you as we determine who should sell and distribute cannabis in Ontario?”

Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa lawyer who teaches drug policy at the University of Ottawa, reviewed the survey questions at Metro’s request.

“These questions are useful to shed some light on things that policy makers may need to pay attention to,” he said, adding that he hopes the province will use it in that way and not as conclusive evidence that we need to change cannabis laws in a particular direction.

“You want a policy to be evidence-based,” he said. “What is the impact of cannabis on driving? What is the likely impact going to be? What is the extent to which cannabis affects the developing brain and should we be more concerned with that than we are with alcohol, which also, by the way, affects the developing brain.”

According to the release, the Ontario Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat will also host a series of expert forums this summer.

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