01/21/2016 16:07 EST | Updated 01/21/2017 00:12 EST

Conservative leader wants illegal pot dispensaries regulated, faster the better

OTTAWA — The interim leader of the Conservative party has kicked up a confusing haze over just how quickly she thinks the Liberal government should move on legalizing and regulating the sale of marijuana.

Rona Ambrose says she wants to see the Trudeau government move carefully on legalization, but she also wants the government to quickly regulate Canada's growing number of illegal pot dispensaries.

The former health minister tells Vancouver radio station CKNW that her concern has always been the public health impact of pot on developing young brains, and she points to last year's $7-million government anti-drug advertising campaign as evidence.

Ambrose says the proliferation of grey market pot dispensaries under the Conservatives was the result of municipal decisions, and she's concerned those storefront operations are only growing in number under the Liberals.

The bottom line, says Ambrose, is that a "huge faction" of mostly adults in this country want access to legal pot for recreational purposes.

The Conservative leader concludes that, in order to protect children, government regulation of those pot dispensaries needs to happen quickly — in her words, the faster the better.

The Canadian Press