New Brunswick MLA’s spent Thursday discussing questions about public money for a medical marijuana business, and the announcement of a government working group studying legalizing marijuana.
The official opposition asking the provincial government why its funding marijuana based companies.
Most recently $990,000 in payroll rebates for 113 jobs at a Moncton medical marijuana producer.
“We are obviously funding businesses when we can to support their growth here in New Brunswick,” explained Premier Brian Gallant during question period, “to make sure there are incentives to create jobs here when we see they have a strong business plan.”
That’s not sitting well with the opposition.
“I feel we need to discuss that more as a legislature,” said Progressive Conservative MLA Kirk MacDonald, “to decide which kind of businesses we want to support with the taxpayers money.”
The question came as the provincial government revealed that a working grouphas for months been quietly looking into the issue of the anticipated legalization of marijuana nationwide.
“I’d like to keep my personal views to myself if you don’t mind,” said New Brunswick’s Public Safety Minister Stephen Horsman.
Horman is leading the group, and says its focus is wide in scope, looking at everything for the social, health and economic effects of legal weed.
“There are mental issues,” he adds. “Colorado has run into issues between young males of certain ages.”
The working group includes NB Liquor, which has been researching the idea of selling marijuana at some of its stores.
“I just think they need to get input from people who’ve been in the industry,” said retailer Jackie Veinott.
Veinott says she has no plans to sell legal weed, but says the working group should be expanded.
“Like myself who’s been in the industry over 20 years,” she said. “There has to be some fallback to protect us so not every Tom, Dick and Harry is opening a shop and selling products they don’t know the history of.”
Still, Veinott says it’s high time the issue is being looked at in an open way.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.