Ottawa to announce legalization of marijuana by July 1, 2018

Ottawa to announce legalization of marijuana by July 1, 2018

WATCH: Recreational pot use could be legal as early as next year. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

The federal government is set to unveil new legislation next month that would legalize recreational marijuana by Canada Day next year. 

At the beginning of March, Justin Trudeau renewed the Liberal’s promise to decriminalize cannabis.

“We are hoping to bring in legislation before the summer,” said Trudeau on March 2 in Esquimalt. “We are working very hard on that, on the excellent report the task force put forward on marijuana.”

The plan is expected to be unveiled before April 20, a date symbolically known as 4/20 among cannabis users. 

The federal government would oversee cannabis supply, ensuring it is safe and secure for consumption. 

Ottawa would also be responsible for licensing producers. 

It will be up to each province to decide how the product is sold and distributed. 

Provincial governments will also be responsible for setting the price. 

The Liberals are expected to set the minimum age of 18 to buy and use pot, but will allow each province to increase the legal age if they wish to do so. 

Dr. Tim Stockwell, Director of the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. and University of Victoria Professor, says they’re still many unknown factors. 

“We need to look very broadly at the big picture of people’s substance use,” said Stockwell. “In both recreational and high risk environments, we need to evaluate these different policies.”

There’s also the upcoming provincial election.

“You need to get on with it now,” said Carole James, NDP MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “It doesn’t matter how much time you have because it will never be enough. You need to make sure you’ve got the regulations right.”

In a statement, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris said the provincial government is working on a response to legalization across departments with a priority on the “health and safety of all Rritish Solumbians, particularly young people.”

If everything moves ahead as planned, cannabis will be legal nation-wide by Canada Day 2018.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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