Sorry Canada, it looks like you’ll be waiting a bit longer than you thought for cannabis legalization. The July 1st date for the green light on purchasing bud has been pushed back a month. Maybe even two. Legalizing marijuana in Canada has been a work in progress for the last two and a half years now. The question is no longer whether marijuana will be legal, but when.
Update from the Health Minister
Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor heard from the Senate on Feb. 15 that the final vote will be held on June 7. From there, it come back to the house, and then moves across Canada. Each province and territory is expected to take anywhere between 8 to 12 weeks to implement the bill. The Liberal government may hope to meet the July 1 date, but opposition from the Conservative party and the lengthy implementation procedure will push legalization back.
Why did this delay happen?
Tim Harper, a writer for the Toronto Star said the newly independent but unelected Senate is to blame. The Senate will pass the bill with amendments, which means going back to the Commons. All of this confuses the time line and drags it out. The farther back that the Conservatives can push back marijuana legalization, the more they can take advantage of inevitable rollout issues. Government Leader Peter Harder told Senate colleagues that “any potential delay for the sake of delay would do a disservice to Canadians and to the culture here in this chamber.” However, the Conservatives countered this statement, saying that political promises had taken precedence over public health concerns.
Why is Canada concerned about recreational legalization?
Concerns about legalization include education on weed and driving, legal age and the idea that marijuana could be a “gate-way drug”. The Conservative Leader in the Senate, Larry Smith, said he would be in no rush to make a decision. He also mentioned he has his own list of concerns. These are health issues, legal age, impaired driving and the operation of heavy machinery while high.