Nova Scotia’s Premier Okays Pot Bill, Ignores Recommendations by Health Experts

Public health experts in Nova Scotia wanted a much more restrictive approach to weed consumption in the province as marijuana legalization looms in Canada.

In an email to CBC News on Tuesday, Health and Wellness spokesperson Tracy Barron said: “The public Health recommended banning the consumption of cannabis in public places where crowds and children frequent.”

But Nova Scotia’s Bill 108, the Cannabis Control Act, already outlaws smoking pot in vehicles, in provincial parks and beaches, within 20 metres of playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation venues or events. It also prohibits smoking a joint within nine metres of public trails.

But Premier Stephen McNeil’s government did not take a number of recommendations by its own public health officials, maybe that’s the reason for the agitation.

The age recommended by Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Robert Strang, was 21, but McNeil’s government instead decided it should be at 19.

Nova Scotia is also going to sell cannabis in liquor stores. A group representing Canadian chief medical officers of health recommended otherwise.

The premier on Tuesday snubbed criticism that the bill is weak.

“We don’t share that view, that’s a personal view,” he told reporters at Province House. “We believe this is the appropriate response to the consumption piece.

“The reality of it is we’re [going to] restrict where the consumption is and this piece of legislation will do that.”

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s Health Minister Randy Delorey felt the same.

“We’re not encouraging Nova Scotians of any age to consume the product, but we do have a situation where it is becoming legalized at the federal level and we have to respond,” he said.