Checking cookies for cannabis could be challenging: Manitoba premier

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he will consider closing a loophole that allows people to eat marijuana-infused brownies and other homemade edibles in public places when cannabis is federally legalized this year.

But he says enforcing a ban — such as one many other provinces are already planning — could be difficult.

“We talked with the RCMP and other policing authorities and there were concerns about how enforceable is it to have someone in a playground on the weekend, eating a cookie, and do you check to see if it’s got cannabis or do you not? And how much does this cost, and all those questions,” Pallister said Thursday.

“This is a moving target in some respects. We’re going to try to get the rules as best we can to protect people.”

Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government recently passed a law that bans consumption of cannabis in virtually any public place — streets, parks, campsites and more — but the law is worded to only ban smoking or vaping. It does not cover homemade edibles.

The federal government has made it clear that people will be able to make their own edible cannabis products as soon as the drug is legalized, although sales of edible products will not be legalized for up to a year.

Some provinces, including Ontario and Saskatchewan, have passed laws that ban any form of cannabis consumption in public.

The laws in Manitoba, as well as in British Columbia, are focused on smoking and vaping. As a result, a person smoking a joint on a park bench would be breaking the law, but a person sitting there eating a marijuana brownie would not.

Pallister said such glitches are bound to happen because the federal government has set a tight deadline for provinces to set the rules for cannabis consumption.

“I’ve been asking the federal government, and other premiers have too — as well as the Canadian Police Chiefs Association (and) Indigenous leaders across the country have been saying — maybe just taking a little more time and we can get some of these things done properly would be a better idea.

“But the feds seem resolute. They want to get it done quickly, so some of these things are going to have to correct themselves over time.”

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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