Article by Daniel LeBlanc, The Globe and Mail
Ottawa is acknowledging for the first time that legal recreational marijuana will not be for sale until August or September.
The federal government initially promised to legalize cannabis before July 1, before giving itself until the end of July. Bill C-45 makes it clear that cannabis will become legal at a date set by cabinet, not when the legislation passes.
However, it became clear two weeks ago that even the revised target would be hard to meet. Speaking to the Senate then, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said provinces and producers will need two to three months to get ready for legalization after Parliament officially approves Bill C-45, making it likely at that point that legal pot would not arrive until late summer.
Earlier this week, the Liberal government’s representative in the Senate, Peter Harder, threatened to cut off debate to ensure the passage of legislation in May. This would have been the only way for legalization to occur in July.
However, Mr. Harder’s motion was opposed by independent and Conservative senators. Under a deal that was negotiated by Mr. Harder, the Senate will hold its final vote on Bill C-45 by June 7.
“The provinces and the territories have made it very clear to us that they will need eight to 12 weeks for implementation. Therefore, if you do the math, you can see that it certainly won’t be July, 2018,” Ms. Petitpas Taylor told reporters on Thursday.
She added that legalization was “a process, not a date.”