Liberals Want to Move Up Pot Legalization to Avoid Canada Day Celebrations

Article by David Cochrane, CBC News

Liberals want to move up pot legalization to avoid Canada Day celebrations Legalization target of July 1, 2018 will be changed to 'on or before July 1, 2018'

With long-awaited marijuana legislation set to be announced next week, the federal government is having second thoughts about legalizing cannabis on Canada Day.

The Trudeau government still plans to go ahead with its plan to make weed legal for recreational use. But a senior government source says the initial target of July 1, 2018 as the implementation date will be changed to “on or before July 1, 2018.”

The change reflects some internal concerns over legalizing a recreational drug on the country’s birthday. Bill Blair, the Liberal government’s point man on pot, told the Canadian Press he wanted the focus of Canada Day to be Canada — not cannabis.

“I’m probably out on a limb on this one but … I don’t believe July 1 should be an implementation date for anything; it is a day of celebration for the anniversary and founding of our country,” Blair told CP.

“I don’t think that’s an appropriate date. That’s my opinion.”

By next summer

But what isn’t changing is the federal government’s desire to fully deliver on its marijuana legalization promise by next summer — despite suggestions that the timeline may be too ambitious.

The federal government believes its timeline to have a nation-wide system for the distribution and sale of marijuana is achievable — even though much of the heavy lifting will have to be done by the provinces.

“We campaigned on this,” said the senior government official. “We told them it was going to happen.”

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