Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday recreational cannabis use will be legal by summer, despite calls from some senators to put off legalization by up to a year to allow for further consultation with Indigenous communities.
Speaking to reporters alongside the Portuguese prime minister today, Trudeau said it should come as no surprise that the Liberal government is determined to enact its marijuana policy in its first mandate given the pre-election pledge the party made to dismantle prohibition.
“We have been working with our partners across the country to make this happen and we are going to be moving forward this summer on the legalization of cannabis,” he said.
“Obviously, as I’ve said many times, this is not an event, this is a process, and we will continue to work with our partners in the municipalities, in provinces and Indigenous leadership in communities to make sure we’re doing this right and moving forward in a responsible way.”
The Senate’s Aboriginal peoples committee suggested Bill C-45, the legislation that will do away with criminal sanctions on adult cannabis possession, should be amended to allow for a delay in implementation of up to a year.
Indigenous communities need more time, Senate told
The committee said the government should take the extra time to make certain “culturally sensitive” materials are available to warn Indigenous peoples about the risks of consuming cannabis, and to negotiate a revenue-sharing deal with First Nations governments to ensure they get a cut of the millions of dollars expected to be collected in excise taxes on the drug.
The senators also recommended the federal government set aside 20 per cent of all licenses for cannabis producers for Indigenous peoples so they can pursue business ventures.