Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said if elected, the Tories won’t alter the ‘legal nature’ of cannabis, however the party will push to be at the forefront of research on potential health ramifications. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Pot industry requires ‘a lot of work’: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer

Conservatives won’t revert marijuana legalization, but rather fund more research

If the Conservatives win the election, Leader Andrew Scheer said the party won’t touch the marijuana legislation, rather it will further support the industry’s growth through ongoing medical research.

“I made the statement some months ago that a Conservative government would not change the legal nature of cannabis,” Scheer said during his visit to Kelowna on Canada Day.

The Liberal government’s legalization of recreational cannabis was originally slotted for Canada Day in 2018, however, it wasn’t passed until October 17, 2018.

READ MORE: Okanagan’s first legal cannabis store opens

Now, a year after the fact, the Okanagan welcomed its first cannabis store on Canada Day: SpiritLeaf.

“It is legal now and there are many people who work in various industries related to that, so we are going to maintain the legal status of cannabis,” he said.

Thousands of jobs have been created in the new sector countrywide, Starbuds director of marketing Dan Winer said during the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Business of Cannabis 2.0 luncheon on June 25.

“We’ve created so many jobs,” he said. “Not only in the Okanagan but across the country. And now, these Okanagan companies are going international.”

Lake Country is home to a number of cannabis manufacturers and extractors including Starbuds Cannabis, Indigenous Bloom Kelowna and Valens GroWorks Corporation and soon, once licensed by the provincial government, more than 15 cannabis retail outlets may open in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Kelowna council ready to consider pot shop rezonings

READ MORE: Two Kelowna sites rezoned for pot shops

But, like many others, Scheer said more work is to be done to ensure the booming new industry succeeds.

“We do think there is a lot of work required in terms of research and understanding the health dynamics of it,” he said.

“We want to make sure the federal government is not just a partner but is leading the way on that as we learn what the ramifications of what legalization will mean for our society going into the future,” Scheer said.

READ MORE: Pot legalization has been successful, but could be better: industry leaders


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

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