The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has written an open letter regarding the impending legalization of cannabis next month.

Addressed to MPP and Cabinet Ministers Christine Elliott Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Vic Fedeli Minister of Finance, Lisa MacLeod Minister of Children and Renu Kulendran, Executive Director Ontario Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat, the letter outlines some areas of control the local health unit would like to have in reference to cannabis.

The letter by Scott Warnock, the Board of Health Chair for the health unit asks for a number of considerations including a provision to allow local boards of health to be empowered by the province to enforce section 11, which deals with the restrictions of places of consumption.

Warnock goes on to ask for help with training and public awareness campaigns, along with funding to local health units for the hiring of additional personnel to enforce the new cannabis controls.

Other areas touched on include controlling the location and number of outlets in an area through zoning, licensing and hours of sale. He would also like to see sales of cannabis not take place alongside liquor and tobacco outlets.

Warnock is also asking for a minimum pricing policy to avoid retailers attempting to undercut each other. Also for consideration is a taxation policy based on the potency of the product being purchased. A higher tax for higher THC levels to help deter price-sensitive consumers from buying stronger marijuana.

Warnock also echoes Health Canada’s request to ban cannabis from being consumed in multi-dwelling units.

Warnock concludes the letter by stating: “The public health community welcomes the opportunity to assist with its expertise as you develop the components of a successful comprehensive cannabis control system.”

The letter is being presented to Bracebridge Council at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday night.