Statement from Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Attorney General
Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General, released the following statement regarding Ontario's Cannabis Legalization Enforcement Summit:
"Today, over one hundred law enforcement and public health experts from across the province, as well as First Nations representatives and the federal government, have come together to participate in Ontario's Cannabis Legalization Enforcement Summit. This is one of many steps as we work to implement a safe and sensible approach to the federal legalization of cannabis.
We held a dedicated session yesterday with First Nations partners to discuss issues unique to enforcement in First Nations communities.
Enforcement is an essential piece of Ontario's approach to the legalization of cannabis, and we are pleased to host such a broad group of partners to identify problems and solutions that will fit communities across the province.
The illegal cannabis market is worth approximately $7 billion a year with significant amounts funnelled to organized crime. We also know that other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis have seen a spike in drug-impaired driving. That is unacceptable. Our shared goal throughout this summit, and in our ongoing conversations, is to get the information necessary to ensure our police services have the support, tools, and resources they need to keep our roads and communities safe.
We remain committed to working with our partners to ensure that illegal cannabis retail stores, such as dispensaries, are shut down as quickly as possible.
Today, our focus will be on identifying enforcement strategies that are in place, where gaps may exist, collaboration opportunities between governments, the enforcement community and other partners, and determining what support our government can provide in these areas. We are asking our partners to give us their insight and thoughts on enforcement involving drug-impaired driving, possession and public consumption, illegal storefronts, and the illicit market.
The insight and feedback we receive today will help us deliver a coordinated, multidisciplinary enforcement strategy centred around community safety, with a focus on prevention and diversion.
Ontario, safety partners, and First Nations communities look forward to working with the federal government to ensure a safe and sensible transition to the legalization of cannabis.
We want to thank the federal government for its participation in today's discussion. Through ongoing dialogue Ontario is working to achieve more clarity on the allocation of recently-announced dedicated enforcement resources.
We continue to urge the federal government, as the government advancing this policy change, to invest the appropriate resources to support cannabis legalization, including funding for provincial and municipal enforcement resources.
Ontario looks forward to receiving more information on the timing of a federally approved road-side screening device, as well as updates on federal cannabis and impaired driving legislative initiatives, planned federal public awareness efforts, and federal funding for law enforcement in support of cannabis legalization and regulation.
Ontario will continue to consult on the decisions still to come as we carefully monitor the transition to federal legalization in keeping with the province's safe and sensible approach."