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People who break Manitoba cannabis rules to face fines up to $2,500

WINNIPEG — People who break Manitoba’s rules on cannabis consumption will face fines of up to $2,542 under new regulations approved by the Progressive Conservative cabinet.

September 11, 2018  By The Canadian Press

The government has published a list of fines for specific offences just weeks ahead of Oct. 17, when the federal government will legalize recreational cannabis use.

Smoking pot in a provincial park or campsite will garner a fine of $672, including court costs and other surcharges. The same fine will apply to people under 19 who are caught with cannabis.

Growing cannabis plants at home, supplying cannabis to an underage person or selling cannabis without a licence will bring fines of $2,542.

The federal government has pushed to have homegrown pot allowed, but Manitoba and Quebec have fought the move and insisted the provinces have the right to restrict it. The Manitoba government has said the restriction is a good way to ensure children don’t have access to the drug.

Opposition NDP justice critic Nahanni Fontaine said the fines seem aimed more at filling the government’s coffers than at public safety.

“I would say that it is highly motivated by the amount of dollars that this current government is going to be able to get from the process of legalized cannabis,” Fontaine said Monday.

“The (Brian) Pallister government has attached all kinds of fines to what is considered legal.”

While the government has restricted smoking cannabis in virtually all public places, including beaches, campgrounds and sidewalks, there is no ban on edible cannabis products other than in vehicles, boats and schools. The province’s rules are specific for the most part to smoking or vaping cannabis, not other forms of consumption.

Pallister said in June it would be tough to enforce a ban on edibles — police would be hard pressed to check people eating cookies in a park, for example.

The federal government is not allowing the sale of edible cannabis products as of October, but has said there is nothing to prevent people from making their own at home using pot purchased legally.

– Steve Lambert

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018

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