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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
|Newfoundland and Labrador||
Links for more information: