While there was some concern that Canada was perhaps getting cold feet with respect to its mission to create a fully legal cannabis market, a new report from CBC News shows the liberal government plans to announce legislation geared toward this reform sometime next month.
The plan, revealed on Sunday during the CBC television program The National, is to get this progressive legislation on the table during the week of April 10 in an effort to launch retail pot sales by July 2018. The initial draft is said to adhere to the majority of the 80 recommendations made last year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s marijuana task force.
Although the Canadian government will oversee the nationwide cannabis industry, it is Ottawa that will be responsible for issuing cultivation licenses. However, individual provinces will still have the freedom to determine the way legal marijuana is sold in their neck of the woods.
For now, it appears that the legal cannabis scene will be made available to those adults 18 and older, but ultimately provinces will have the discretion to increase the age restriction if they so choose. The legislation also comes with a home cultivation provision, one that will allow Canadians to grow up to four plants on their property for personal use.
The legalization of marijuana was one of Prime Minister Trudeau’s biggest campaign promises. It was announced last April that Canada was moving forward with this policy change, creating a wealth of problems for those members of the cannabis community not patient enough to wait until weed is actually legal to sell for recreational use.
“I cannot stress enough that until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current law applies,” Trudeau said earlier this month.
But while Canadian officials are pushing to open the recreational marijuana market ahead of Canada Day, delays could be a distinct possibility.
Canadian Parliament’s Secretary to the Minister of Justice recently told Bloomberg News that the federal government “will take as much time as it takes to do it right,” and that he had no idea “how long this will take in each of our 10 provinces and three territories.”
Some members of Parliament believe Trudeau's willingness to allow people to continue being criminalized by marijuana possession is proof that the liberals will not succeed in ending prohibition nationwide.
Trudeau has maintained throughout the past year that his primary reason for wanting to legalize marijuana is not to help the cannabis industry get rich. He first wants to see the elimination of the black market, which he believes will keep pot out of the hands of children.
“We know criminal organizations and street gangs are making billions of dollars off of the sale of marijuana,” Trudean said. “We feel that regulating it, controlling it will bring that revenue out of the pockets of criminals and put it into a system where we can both monitor, tax it and ensure that we are supporting people who are facing challenges related or unrelated to drug use.”