Article by John Paul Tasker, CBC News
The full implementation of legal cannabis could occur later than July 1, government officials told CBC News Tuesday.
While the Liberal government is still hoping its legislation will pass Parliament before July — even though it faces entrenched opposition from some Conservative senators — it recognizes it may take some provinces 8 to 12 weeks of further work after the law passes before consumers can purchase legal, recreational marijuana from storefronts.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, during an appearance before a committee of the whole inside the Senate Tuesday, said she has heard from lower levels of government that more time might be required.
“As a practical matter — they told us they need 8 to 12 weeks following royal assent for preparatory activities to occur, such as lawful movement of product from license producers to distribution and retail outlets.”
“Before legislation comes into force and Canadians can legally buy cannabis, Health Canada continues to engage national and community partners to share information related to implementation and ensure all levels of government are prepared for the prospective coming into force of bill,” she said.
Based on that timeline, the Senate would have to pass the bill by end of May if the government is to meet its July timeline for full legalization.
That scenario seems unlikely as the legislation, Bill C-45, is currently only at second reading in the Red Chamber, meaning it still has to be studied at committee — where many witnesses are expected to be called for testimony — before the bill is sent back to the chamber for further debate at third reading.
There is also the strong possibility that amendments will be proposed to the bill, which, if passed by the Senate, would then have to be sent back to the House of Commons to be approved by MPs, a process that could tack on weeks to the legislative process.