Blaze away once marijuana’s legal – just not in your car, ATV or provincial parks

Cannabis retailers will need alarms, background checks for employees

A range of fines for improper cannabis use and regulations governing commercial operations were announced by the provincial government and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA) Sept. 13.

Marijuana retailers will be required to have security alarm systems and commercial grade locks at their locations and maintain records of how much cannabis is for sale, how much is being used for display, how much is subject to recall and how much has been disposed of. Employees will have to be 19 or older and go through background checks as well as a training course specified by the LGCA executive director. Stores – two of which are expected to open in Thompson by April of next year – will also be required to verify that purchasers are at least 19 years old.

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“My colleagues and I are mindful of the need for foundational regulations to ensure the honesty and integrity of Manitoba’s cannabis retail store operations”, said LGCA board chair Bonnie Mitchelson. “As with liquor and gaming, Manitobans may be assured that we have put in place appropriate regulations to govern the operation of these stores.”

“Our government has consistently emphasized our commitment to keep cannabis out of the hands of our youth and away from the black market,” said Justice Minister Cliff Cullen. “The measures approved by LGCA’s board set procedures and processes to prevent diversion of street cannabis into the licensed stores and to ensure retail sales only to people 19 years and older.”

The province also announced fines for various marijuana-use offences the same day. They range from $113 for novice drivers who fail drug-screening tests to $2,542 for supplying cannabis to someone under 19 years old or growing non-medical marijuana in a home. Carrying cannabis in on- or off-road vehicles will cost $237, while smoking or vaping in provincial parks, consuming cannabis in a vehicle on a highway or in an off-road vehicle, or failing a drug-test as a supervising driver under the graduated licensing program will set offenders back $672.

“Our government has introduced a number of laws relating to cannabis in the interest of public safety and these fines ensure we are open and transparent with Manitobans about the consequences of breaking the law,” said Cullen. “As a government, we understand that drugged driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. The new drug-related restrictions for novice drivers ensure that we treat cannabis just as seriously as we treat alcohol for drivers that are just learning to safely operate a vehicle.” 

The provincial park consumption prohibition will apply to campsites in campgrounds, outdoor spaces adjacent to yurts and vacation cabins, canoe routes and trails along with remote outdoor locations as well as backcountry trails and campsites. Exceptions will be made for private homes within provincial parks and to those who use marijuana for medical purposes. Commercial establishments within provincial park boundaries will be able to make their own rules surrounding their customers’ cannabis use.

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