Prime minister Justin Trudeau plans on fulfilling his campaign promise. He has announced that recreational cannabis legalization will be in place by July 2018.
As the Canadian government scrambles to get the laws promulgated before then, The Gaurdian examined the plan of action to determine whether the timeline is realistic.
Two weeks to formulate cannabis legalization laws
Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government plan on disclosing the regulations by the second week of April. Since 2013, he has aimed to regulate and decriminalize recreational use of marijuana. His reasoning is that it will keep the youth safe and the profits out of criminals’ hands.
Ottawa is expected to take care of the federal legislation. This will include the licensing procedures for production and safety regulations. Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household.
Provincial governments have a lot to do
The provincial governments will decide how marijuana will be sold, and at what price. By federal conditions, buyers must be 18 years old, but provinces could up the age if they wish to do so.
Some oppose Trudeau’s view and the stated timeline. A senior federal official commented that mid 2019 would have been more realistic. The hasty initiative has left Canadians divided. At the same time, analysts speculate that the cannabis market could be worth between C$5bn to C$7bn annually.
The Saskatchewan Minister of Justice stated that his provincial government has serious concerns regarding recreational cannabis legalization. First and foremost there are concerns regarding impaired driving. The minister of labor also voiced his concern over how safety in the workplace will be affected by the new law.
While Canadians support medical cannabis use, many are in two minds as to whether recreational cannabis legalization will be a positive step.
What will big daddy Trump say?
Some are worried that legal cannabis use will put Canada in conflict with the Trump administration. The US justice department has threatened to enforce federal law despite states legalizing recreational use. If prohibition is enforced on the borders of Canada, it might pose a problem, as 400,000 people cross the border daily. Three quarters of Canada’s exports go to the US. Thus, the economic implications of a dispute could be severe.
Still not legal
Trudeau stressed, that until such time as legislation of recreational use is in place, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Canada. The point was proved as dispensaries across Canada got raided. Several drug trafficking charges were laid.
Many questions remain unresolved. How much cannabis can a person carry? Just how will cannabis be regulated in practice? These and many other issues must be resolved before embarking on cannabis legalization.
Will Canada meet its target cannabis legalization date?
Although cannabis legalization may sound simple on the surface, it is a complicated process. Trudeau wants to deliver on his campaign promise, but it seems that the date he has set for cannabis legalization may be too ambitious. However, whether it happens in 2018 or 2019, cannabis legalization in Canada seems likely in the near future.