The province of Saskatchewan has unveiled the penalties it will impose for the improper use of recreational cannabis in October, with fines ranging from $200 to $2,250.
The highest fines were assigned to stores. Licensed retailers selling product to a minor, or even failing to demand to see proof of age, will be given a $2,250 fine; a lot higher than the equivalent penalty for alcohol, which stands at $750.
The higher figure also applies to licensed retailers who sell or distribute cannabis to a person who appears to be intoxicated, and illegal shops that distribute or possess the substance.
There will be three offences that could see users handed down a $200 ticket: smoking cannabis in a public place, possessing or consuming it in a campground where it is prohibited, or possessing or distributing more than 30 grams of dried product in a public place.
Federal law dictates that no one is allowed to carry more than 30 grams of dried cannabis at a time.
Justice Minister Don Morgan explains, “The goal was to have fines that would be an appropriate disincentive for certain kinds of conduct, but were also publicly acceptable.”
Other penalties to be introduced include:
Consumption of cannabis on school grounds or at a childcare facility – $1,000
Purchasing cannabis from a jurisdiction outside of Saskatchewan – $300
Possessing or consuming cannabis in a vehicle – $300
There is a caveat for possession in a vehicle, however. Consumers who are transporting it from a legal point of purchase to a legal point of consumption will be exempt.
Selling cannabis to a minor will result in a $750 penalty, and Morgan noted, “One of the major considerations when we went into this was trying to keep marijuana out of schools and out of the hands of children. Bringing marijuana into a school area we knew would be a significant issue, so we wanted to have a large disincentive there.”
The new regulations will be enforced once recreational cannabis is legalized and the Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act is proclaimed.