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Ken Grey's Commentary

I'm sure you could almost hear the huge sigh of relief across Saskatchewan as farmers once again started the combines rolling across Saskatchewan's landscape. On the Swenson farm, we started taking wheat tough for the drying bin and within two days, it was testing dry. I'm sure the same experience was happening all across the province. The agenda today is for some oats followed by flax that has been in the swath for a week. Another week of good weather is going to put a huge dent in what crop remains. Let's all keep our fingers cross that Mother Nature cooperates.

Congratulations to Paul Carroll and Ken Grey on successfully completing the requirements laid down by the PC Party for entry into the leadership contest. They were both up in Saskatoon late last week for a candidate forum and I'm sure they are busy working the phones talking to party members in advance of the leadership contest on November 3rd. I encourage everyone to attend and listen to what these two fine candidates have to say about the future of our Party and our province.

Another event occurred last week which is ground breaking and something I never thought I would see during my time as an active politician. Welcome to the world of legal "weed" in Saskatchewan and Canada! I guess I should have used the proper name which is cannabis but to those of us who went through our teenage and young adulthood in the late 60s and early 70s, it was always referred to as "weed".

You bought it in a plain old baggie usually from someone in a bar and it was worth $20. It was illegal. It was very harsh to smoke but most of us had to try it because that is what was going on in the world around us where young people were rebelling against all the norms of society. As you grew older, you soon realized that society still frowned on the use of cannabis and so if you still indulged in it, it was always behind the cloak of respectability.

I remember very clearly the shock that was going on around the world when it was revealed that then President Bill Clinton had smoked marijuana in his college days. Mr. Clinton was forced to acknowledge that he had done so but claimed that he had not inhaled the smoke. The whole world laughed. At the time, I was the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Saskatchewan Legislature and knew that the press gallery would be waiting for all of the party leaders after question period with the very question ... have you smoked weed?

I told the caucus that morning there was no sense beating around the bush on the topic because too many people had witnessed the act of me doing so and I had really never been ashamed of the fact anyway. I therefore walked into the scrum before the question was even asked and said "Yes I did and yes I had inhaled" - what would you like to talk about today? That was the end of the discussion on marijuana use and I suspect many of the members of the press gallery had also done their own little experiments on weed at some point in their lives.

Canadians as a whole now no longer have to go through the dance and charade of whether they use cannabis or not. They do have to, however, be aware of the health effects and the impaired effects of its use. We as a society have not done as good a job as we probably should with another controlled substance called alcohol so we must be ever vigilant and responsible when using this new particular controlled substance.

In my view, the Sask Party government through its Liquor and Gaming Authority, have botched the introduction of legalized pot in Saskatchewan with their so-called draw for dispensaries. Almost none of the new operations were in operation on day one of legalization and the government seems to have no clue of how the distribution system will work because there will be no restriction on the number of wholesalers who can be in the marketplace. It will be interesting to see how many of these so-called wholesalers have strong connections to the Sask Party government. I guess time will tell but I have strong suspicions because of the way the privatization of the liquor business has gone over the last couple of years where what the government says initially, isn't what unfolds down the road.

Personally I think Canadians can handle legal weed and I'm actually looking forward to when edible products become available because I have never had the opportunity to try them and I am told there are many medicinal applications for old folks like myself to get a good night sleep.

I hope to see you in Moose Jaw on November 3rd!

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