Article by David Brown, Lift
Canada’s formal announcement of its intention to legalize cannabis at a UN meeting earlier this year grabbed headlines around the world. As Canada is the first G20 nation to take on this task at the federal level, the excitement is understandable.
Canada’s Health Minister, Jane Philpott made the announcement on April 20th of this year, at the UN General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs in Washington DC., saying the government intends to introduce a Bill in the spring of 2017 to regulate and control access to cannabis.
“We will introduce legislation in spring 2017 that ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals,” Minister Philpott told the UN audience.
Since the time of that announcement, rumours have swirled about just exactly what this means. Some believed cannabis was legal the moment the Liberals won the election in October, 2015. Articles declaring April 20, 2017 as the day it will be legalized had a great deal of traction, likely because it makes a great story. The real story is a bit more complicated.
What the Liberal government has done is promise to introduce legislation to Parliament in the Spring of 2017 that will seek to “control and regulate” marijuana. This process is expected to work its way through the Canadian Parliamentary system over several months, with many predicting ‘full legalization’ not being functional in Canada until early 2018, or later.