WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is outlining an alternative vision for the regulation and control of cannabis that limits the growth of the territorial government while creating opportunities for the private sector. The Yukon Liberal’s plan will grow the size of government and will only allow a private “off-sales” model at an undisclosed date in the future, which will still be required to compete against government sales.
Rather than growing government, Yukon should allow the private sector to be responsible for the distribution and retail of cannabis. Government should instead focus on establishing clear and strong regulations for the private sector to ensure the safety of their products, as well as on strong enforcement of public health and safety rules. Further, government should focus efforts on preventing sales to minors as well as on education initiatives that discourage drug use.
“The local private sector can deliver this service just as safely as government and at a cheaper cost to taxpayers. Government should be focused on creating opportunities for the private sector and enforcing strict rules to protect health and safety – not on growing the size of government,” said Brad Cathers, Official Opposition Justice Critic. “We recognize Yukoners have strong feelings on both sides of the legalization debate. However, the federal government has been clear that they are amending federal legislation to make cannabis legal and that it is up to provincial and territorial governments to decide how they will regulate it.”
Limit Government Growth:
After meeting with many Yukoners, the Premier’s Financial Advisory Panel indicated that it had heard many concerns about the size of government in Yukon. Despite this legitimate concern, the Premier’s plan for cannabis will expand government, limit the growth of the private sector, and increase costs to taxpayers.
“Any government expansion into new areas such as cannabis sales will likely be permanent, so the responsible thing to do for Yukon taxpayers is to implement the legalization of cannabis in a way that favours growing the private sector instead of growing government,” added Cathers.
Eliminating Black Market, Strong Enforcement, and Protecting Youth:
In addition to creating private sector opportunities, limiting growth of government, and creating strict rules for health and safety, the Official Opposition believes that the Yukon government should focus on the elimination of the black market by keeping taxes low. Taxes on cannabis should be kept low enough to allow the legal market to be competitive thus taking money away from criminal organizations. Revenue generated from legal cannabis should be reinvested into inspection, enforcement, and education programs that discourage drug use.
“We have heard loud and clear from medical professionals and families about concerns that the legalization of cannabis will lead to increased road safety issues or usage by minors. For this reason the government also needs to ensure that it has strict fines and penalties for anyone caught driving under the influence or selling to a minor,” added Cathers.