Despite the Trudeau government’s insistence that everything was on track for the legalization of cannabis in July, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced on February 15 that Canadians will have to wait until between August and September 2018 before they can legally purchase recreational marijuana. Bill C-45 is currently at the second reading stage of the legislative process within the Senate. Once the second reading is finished, the bill will be given to five different Senate committees to review before heading back to the Senate for a final debate. Senators have agreed to hold off the voting to pass Bill C-45 until June 7, 2018. Assuming it passes, Petipas Taylor stated that it will still take the provincial and territorial governments eight to twelve weeks to prepare for legalization (Leblanc, 2018).
The Liberal government has received backlash from the Conservatives, who say the Liberals were trying to rush Bill C-45 through without addressing concerns over the legal age, education in regards to smoking and driving, increased consumption, Indigenous involvement, and the lack of addiction facilities in Northern communities (Harper, 2018).
There is a possibility that senators could vote to amend the bill, which would send it back to the House of Commons in order to decided whether to accept or refuse the amendments. If any amendments were to be rejected, the bill would then move back to the Senate, pushing back the date for legalization even further. In addition, Bill C-45’s delay also means a delay for Bill C-46, Canada’s new impaired driving bill.
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.