Until now, our prayer targets opposing the legalization of marijuana have been focused on the federal government. With the legislation now in the Senate we need to continue these efforts, but also expand them.

Although the legalization of recreational marijuana is determined by federal law, provinces and municipalities will have significant influence over what this legalization looks like within their jurisdiction.

For example, provincial legislation will determine the following (amongst other things):

  • The legal age of possession;
  • Penalties for usage by minors;
  • Places where marijuana can be consumed (in private, in public, etc.);
  • The degree to which municipalities can create stricter regulations; and,
  • Whether personal cultivation (home grown marijuana) will be permitted.

Municipalities will have an important role in areas such as business licensing, building codes, zoning, signage, municipal workplace safety, and enforcement of regulations around public consumption and impaired driving.

Furthermore, some provinces, such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, are giving municipalities the choice of opting out of allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana in their town or city. In Saskatchewan, a number of municipalities have already chosen to exercise this option which means that there will be no stores or outlets selling marijuana within those municipalities. Some provinces are giving municipalities a say in where marijuana can be legally consumed, similar to bylaws pertaining to tobacco smoking.

It addition, varying degrees of flexibility are being granted to indigenous communities concerning the implementation and regulation of legalized marijuana. Many indigenous peoples are concerned about the impact of marijuana on their communities, while others want to have the freedom to enact their own level of taxes and regulations regarding marijuana production, sales and consumption.

The fact that so many decisions regarding the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana are going to be made or influenced by the local level of government provides a significant opportunity to make an impact through prayer, and underscores the importance of raising an informed and concerned voice for the communities we love and are seeking to raise our families in.

PRAYER STRATEGIES

  • Pray accurately: Become familiar with how your province is dealing with the legalization of marijuana so that you can pray accurately. The table below provides some of this information and more can be found online.
  • Pray specifically: Find out what specific steps your municipal government will be taking or could take, to protect children and youth, and to minimize harm. They may have some of this information posted online.
  • Pray compassionately: This legislation is well intentioned (the purpose is to keep it out of the hands of children, to protect the health of users, and to remove the criminal element). The problem is, that legalization will not achieve these objectives but will rather compound the hard already being experienced. The public and our leaders need to realize this.
  • Pray persistently: You may or may not see quick results. Position yourself in prayer and hold that ground. Sometimes breakthrough will only come through holding our ground in persistent prayer before changes are seen.

PRAYER TARGETS

  • Proper priorities: Pray that your municipality will put their priority on protecting youth, children and public health.
  • Proper focus: Pray that the focus of protecting youth, children and public health will not be diluted by the lure of additional tax dollars.
  • Wisdom: Pray for wisdom for your municipal leaders, to know how to effectively craft bylaws and regulations that would minimize the damage legalization will cause.
  • Prohibition where possible: If your province allows municipalities to prohibit the retailing of marijuana (B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba), pray that they would do so.
  • Favour and influence: Pray for those in your municipal government who are concerned about the legalization of marijuana, would have great favour and influence on their colleagues.
  • Truth and clarity: Pray that the truth regarding the harm that cannabis can cause to youth would become abundantly evident to all.
  • Courage and conviction: Pray for people to be courageous in voicing their concerns to their municipal leaders.

PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORKS

The following table lists a few aspects of the provincial frameworks as of April 15, 2018. We will be following up with more detail about what other measures can be taken at the municipal level in a future newsletter.

Provincial Frameworks for the Recreational Use of Marijuana

 British Columbia
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption allowed in spaces where tobacco use is permitted, but not in areas frequented by children
  • Municipal flexibility to prohibit retailing
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Alberta
  • Legal age of possession will be 18
  • Youth under 18 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption allowed in spaces where tobacco use is permitted, but not in areas frequented by children
  • Zoning power for municipalities; ability to set stricter restrictions on consumption sites
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation (indoor only)
 Saskatchewan
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption only allowed in private spaces
  • Municipal flexibility to prohibit retailing
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Manitoba
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption to be allowed in spaces where alcohol consumption is permitted
  • Municipal flexibility to prohibit retailing by plebiscite
  • No home cultivation permitted
 Ontario
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption only allowed in private spaces
  • Flexibility to adapt the framework to the local needs of indigenous communities
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Quebec
  • Legal age of possession will be 18
  • Youth under 18 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption to be allowed in spaces where alcohol consumption is permitted (but not on university campuses)
  • Municipal flexibility to curtail public consumption further
  • Home cultivation prohibited
 New Brunswick
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption only allowed in private spaces
  • Municipal flexibility on consumption and licensing unclear
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Public consumption prohibited
  • Municipal flexibility on consumption and licensing unclear
  • Home cultivation to be determined
 P.E.I.
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption prohibited in public areas (initially)
  • Municipalities will have some flexibility over certain aspects, but details are not yet clear
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Nova Scotia
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Consumption to be allowed in spaces where alcohol consumption is permitted
  • Municipalities may further restrict where consumption is permitted
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Yukon
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Public consumption prohibited initially
  • No apparent municipal flexibility on sales or public consumption
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 N.W.T.
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis
  • Public consumption will be prohibited in some areas (e.g. frequented by children)
  • Communities can hold a plebiscite to restrict or prohibit cannabis
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation
 Nunavut
  • Legal age of possession will be 19
  • Youth under 19 prohibited from possessing any cannabis.
  • Consumption allowed in spaces where tobacco use is permitted, but not in areas frequented by children
  • Municipalities may implement some restrictions (use, temporary ban on sales)
  • 4 cannabis plants permitted for home cultivation

Links for more information: