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This article was published 22/8/2017 (1334 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If a consensus could be drawn from a wide-ranging town hall in Brandon about the proposed legalization of marijuana, it’s an acknowledgment the legislation is flawed.
To single out certain shortcomings, however, depends on whom you ask.
A crowd of 125 constituents filled the West End Community Centre Sunday night for the town hall, organized by the office of Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire and moderated by parliamentary assistant Drew Ostash.
For two hours, the discussion looked to the future. Attendees, resigned to the eventual legalization of marijuana, questioned many aspects of its rollout, such as the number of grams a person can keep, the legal age for using and police enforcement.
Some heated dialogue centred on when a person can legally possess or consume marijuana, which the federal government’s task force believes should be 18 years old.
Brian Pettigrew agrees that marijuana should be permitted at the age of majority, when Canadians are legally able to vote, drink alcohol in Manitoba and join the military.
It should be up to individual people to decide if consuming is worthwhile when long-term effects to drug use include impairing memory loss and concentration, he said.
"As Canadians, we have that right to decide for ourselves, and if we fall on our face as an individual, because we did not make the right decision in our life, that’s our own fault."
One young woman garnered applause when she said if she’s permitted to die from alcohol poisoning at 18, she should be allowed to smoke a joint.
Many speakers questioned the purpose of stringent restrictions on marijuana that are not in place with alcohol, the latter a more punishing substance responsible for fatalities, violent assaults and road collisions.
For example, some attendees wondered why you can brew as many alcoholic drinks as you like, but the number of marijuana-producing plants a household can keep is supposed to be limited.
Reid Ogilvie, one of the night’s more impassioned speakers, said it’s ridiculous you may soon get a worse maximum sentence for possessing or selling cannabis without authorization (14 years) than the maximum 10-year penalty for assault with a weapon.
Earlier in the night, the 21-year-old said he believed legal marijuana should be priced at a level below the black market, so it would hopefully limit the selling done by drug dealers.
After hosting town hall-style events in Holland and Killarney on Monday, Maguire has two more scheduled on the subject of marijuana. He will be in Deloraine tonight at the Mountview Centre from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and the Legion Hall in Virden, beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Everyone who attended the town hall was encouraged to write down their responses, which would be sent to the federal justice minister and the parliamentary committee studying the issue.
The federal government intends to legalize pot by Canada Day in 2018.
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