Canada’s Voice – Canadians will have to wait until Oct. 17 — one month longer than expected — before they’ll be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the date Wednesday during the last question period in the House of Commons before MPs departed for a three-month summer break.
He said the government delayed the timetable for lifting the almost century-old prohibition on marijuana at the request of three of the larger provinces, including Quebec, which asked for more time to make the transition to a legal regime for regulating the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis.
“The provinces have asked us for more time than they originally thought they would need in order to get the implementation right and I think we all agree it’s important to get this right and not rushed,” the prime minister told a news conference wrapping up the spring sitting of Parliament.
By taking the extra time, Trudeau added: “It is our hope that as of Oct. 17, there will be a smooth operation of retail cannabis outlets operated by the provinces, with an online mail delivery system operated by the provinces that will ensure that this happens in an orderly fashion.”
Still, he acknowledged that legalization is “a process, not a single-day event,” recognizing that there may be kinks that will have to be worked out as the country adapts to the new regime.
The extra month still wasn’t enough to satisfy Manitoba’s justice minister, Heather Stefanson.
“We’re happy that they’ve listened to us, that they’ve pushed that date off, but I still do have concerns that we’re not going to have certain things in place prior to that (October) date,” she said.
For instance, Stefanson said she’s concerned that reliable roadside testing devices for cannabis won’t be available by then.
On Tuesday, the Senate approved Bill C-45, the bill establishing the new legal regime, after seven months of intensive study and debate.
Senators also dropped their insistence on amendments to the bill, most notably one that would have authorized provincial and territorial governments to prohibit the home cultivation of marijuana plants if they choose.
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