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Manitoba mulling a ban on public consumption of edible cannabis products


WINNIPEG — Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government is looking at expanding its ban on smoking cannabis in public places to also include consumption of edible products.

Two days before the legalization of recreational marijuana, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the government is actively looking at outlawing the use of cannabis-infused baked goods and other edible items in public.

"It's being considered as we speak," Cullen said Monday.

"In our discussions recently with MADD Canada, they raised the ... concern that people were making their own product at home or purchasing, and quite frankly they were over-consuming and ending up in the hospital."

Some other provinces have said they will ban all forms of pot consumption in public, but Manitoba and British Columbia have written their laws to specifically target smoking and vaping.

Premier Brian Pallister hinted in June the government might expand the law to edibles, but questioned how it might be enforced.

"We talked with the RCMP and other policing authorities and there were concerns about how enforceable is it to have someone in a playground on the weekend, eating a cookie, and do you check to see if it's got cannabis or do you not? And how much does this cost, and all those questions," Pallister said at the time.

While sales of edible cannabis products will not be legal Wednesday — the federal government has said that could come within a year — nothing will prevent people from buying cannabis at an authorized store or online and making their own baked goods.

Cullen also revealed a new round of advertisements Monday to raise awareness of the potential dangers of cannabis use. The ads, to be run by the provincial regulatory agency for gambling, liquor and cannabis, include one that features a picture of a turtle with a warning to "go slowly" when using cannabis.

Another ad warns people not to use cannabis and liquor together, while a third warns users of edible products that it can take up to two hours to feel the effects.

Combined with an earlier series of ads that is also running on social media, posters and billboards, the Manitoba government is spending $450,000 on public awareness related to cannabis.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

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