It’s announced! Trudeau government to legalize marijuana by Canada Day 2018
(Another report, however, indicated the bill would be introduced on April 20, 2017 or 4/20, a symbolic date for marijuana users)
The Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018.
CBC News has learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10 and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan.
Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who has been stickhandling the marijuana file for the government, briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and the legislation during caucus meetings this weekend.
Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, speaking at an open caucus meeting and panel discussion on the legalization of marijuana on Parliament Hill in February, 2016, has briefed the Liberal caucus on new marijuana legislation, which leaves the provinces to decide how marijuana is distributed and sold. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Provinces to control sales
The federal government will be in charge of making sure the country’s marijuana supply is safe and secure and Ottawa will license producers.
But the provinces will have the right to decide how the marijuana is distributed and sold. Provincial governments will also have the right to set price.
While Ottawa will set a minimum age of 18 to buy marijuana, the provinces will have the option of setting a higher age limit if they wish.
4 plants per household
As for Canadians who want to grow their own marijuana, they will be limited to four plants per household.
Legalizing marijuana was one of the more controversial promises Justin Trudeau made as he campaigned to become prime minister.
- Highlights from the federal marijuana task force report
- Hold off on homegrown pot, police chiefs urge government
But in their platform the Liberals said it was necessary to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana” in order to keep drugs “out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals.”
The Liberals had promised to introduce legislation by the Spring of 2017. Announcing the legislation the week of April 10 will allow the party to hit that deadline.
Raids raise questions
Trudeau referred again to that rough timetable a few weeks ago when he said the legislation would be introduced before the summer. But at the same time he also warned that it wasn’t yet open season for the legal sale of marijuana.
“Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” Trudeau said in Halifax March 1.
That warning became more concrete a week later, when police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities carried out raids on marijuana dispensaries and charged several people with possession and trafficking, including noted pot advocates Marc and Jodie Emery.
Trudeau’s promise to legalize marijuana was seen as one of the reasons for the Liberals’ strong showing among youth voters in the 2015 election.
But at the NDP’s leadership debate in Montreal Sunday, which was focused on youth issues, several of the candidates pointed to marijuana legislation as an example of a broken Liberal promise.
“I do not believe Justin Trudeau is going to bring in the legalization of marijuana and as proof that … we are still seeing, particularly young, Canadians being criminalized by simple possession of marijuana,” said B.C. MP Peter Julian.
The Liberal government plans to announce legislation next month that will legalize recreational marijuana use nationally by Canada Day 2018, CBC News reported Sunday night.
The report, aired first on CBC’s flagship TV show, The National, said the government plans to introduce the legislation the week of April 10.
Another report, however, indicated the bill would be introduced on April 20, or 4/20, a symbolic date for marijuana users.
According to the CBC report, Ottawa will secure the country’s marijuana supply and license producers. The national age limit to purchase the drug will be set at 18, but provinces will be able to set it higher.
Provinces will also control price, along with how marijuana is bought and sold. Also, Canadians who wish to grow their own marijuana would be limited to four plants per household.
The new rules generally follow the recommendations of a federal task force chaired by Anne McLellan, a former justice minister. The task force delivered a 106-page report in December with 80 recommendations.
Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who, as a Liberal MP, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s point person on the issue, briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and planned legislation during meetings this weekend, CBC said.