Marijuana Legalization Could Be Delayed Across Canada

Published February 8, 2018 at 5:55 am


If you’ve been anxiously waiting for the Liberals to make good on their promise to legalize pot in Canada, you may have to wait a little longer!

The July 1 deadline is quickly approaching for marijuana to become legal in Canada. But according to a recent Senate document, it could take even longer for residents to be able to legally consume the substance in Canada.

In fact, it could be late summer before marijuana is legal, even if the Senate votes in favour of Bill C-45 (the bill that’s set to legalize and regulate access to cannabis for Canadians over the age of 18) in May or June.

“Provinces and territories are preparing for the start of legal cannabis sales later this year by making progress in setting up legislation and infrastructure,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. 

“As a practical matter, they told us that they need 8 to 12 weeks following Royal Assent for preparatory activities to occur, such as lawful movement of product from licensed producers to distribution and retail outlets before legislation comes into force and Canadians can legally buy cannabis.”

That’s right — it could take eight to 12 additional weeks for consumers to purchase pot legally after the legislation has passed.

The upto three-month window is necessary for retailers to have a transition period to prepare to sell marijuana, according to a recent report from The Globe and Mail. 

With cannabis legalization will of course come strict rules, like the 18-year-old age limit, and other regulations focused on youth. The bill, which has been and will continue to be under intense scrutiny, would also allow adults to grow up to four marijuana plants per residence.

“We’ve heard people across Ontario are anxious about the federal legalization of cannabis,” said Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in a recent statement. “The province is moving forward with a safe and sensible approach to legalization that will ensure we can keep our communities and roads safe, promote public health and harm reduction, and protect Ontario’s young people.”

Ontario is the first province or territory in Canada to publicly announce a comprehensive plan to regulate federally legalized cannabis. While some will certainly oppose the measure, it appears cannabis is a popular intoxicant. According to a 2015 report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 45 per cent of Ontario adults have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, while about 15 per cent have used cannabis in the past year.

As for what’s happening with marijuana retailers now, major companies — like Aphria, a Leamington, Ont.-based producer and supplier of medical cannabis — are gearing up for the legalization.

Approximately 150 standalone stores will be opened by 2020, including 80 by July 1, 2019, overseen by the LCBO.

For now, marijuana has been prohibited in Canada for 95 years…what’s a few weeks later than expected?

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