Concerns over mental health, addiction raised at MPP pot meeting

Shawna O'Neill, TC Media
Concerns over mental health, addiction raised at MPP pot meeting
Smoking joint.

CORNWALL, Ontario- Some meeting members left feeling high and dry with more questions than answers after MPP Jim McDonell’s marijuana conference on Thursday, Aug. 30 at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.

“The intention was good but it created more questions than answers,” said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy.

“I’m sure Jim will bring those questions back to Toronto and provide us with the answers,” he added.

McDonell discussed a series of topics, including the roles of municipalities, licensing eligibility and store operations.

“I think it was a good discussion,” said McDonell. “We got a feeling of what concerned the different organizations. We had members of the municipalities, both police forces, schools, healthcare.”

With the delayed implementation date for non-internet stores pushed back to April 1, McDonell feels that communities have more time and opportunity to make the best of the process.

“We’re listening and taking that back. We have really now until April 1 to put many of the

regulations about licensing and private enterprises into place,” said McDonell.

There are still major concerns surrounding the process. According to McDonell, a major point of contention at the meeting was how legalization will affect mental health and addiction.

“We’ve promised a substantial increase in mental health and addictions funding, but will it be enough? We will have to see,” said McDonell. 

Mayor O’Shaughnessy highlighted questions involving the consultation and enforcement process in regards to licensing, how many licenses can be approved and if there will be any public consultation on the matter.

“There’s so many questions out there, and the answers are very sparse,” said O’Shaughnessy.

“We are out there, we are consulting. We want to get the opinions of various groups before we put regulations in place,” said McDonell. 

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