Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada as of Oct. 17.

Some Victoria cannabis dispensaries were happy about the announcement.

“We’re really excited for it,” said Kyle Cheyne of Leaf Compassion.

“October 17 is certainly an amazing day for those who are currently waiting for it and we’re certainly one of them,” said compliance officer for FARM Victoria, Allan Lingwood.

Trudeau said the government has delayed the legalization schedule in order to give the provinces and territories more time to implement their regimes.

“Obviously the current approach, the current prohibition on marijuana has not worked to protect our kids, to keep the money out of the profits or organized crime that’s why we’re bringing a new legalized framework,” said Trudeau.

“Cannabis for non-medical use is not legal yet, the law still remains the law,” said  Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

So what happens next for B.C. dispensaries?

“Until now and then we will be submitting our application to receive our licence to retail cannabis in the province of British Columbia,”  added Lingwood.

The B.C application process has not yet been launched and it’s unclear when it’ll open up. B.C.’s public safety minister, Mike Farnworth, said Wednesday:

“The date set by the federal government for cannabis legalization will just be the beginning […] We’re now focused on developing the regulations.”

“It’s going to take years and years to implement all the rules and all the regulations that they want,” added Cheyne.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to end its opposition to certain aspects of the federal bill, most notably the plan to permit Canadians to cultivate marijuana plants at home. A proposed Senate amendment would have prevented legal challenges to their constitutional right to do so.

Wilson-Raybould called the legislation – which still requires royal assent to become law – “transformative” and predicted it would protect young people and keep organized crime out of the pot market.

But she’s reminding Canadians that until it goes into effect, recreational marijuana remains illegal, as is driving while impaired.

Bill C-46, a companion bill that Wilson-Raybould predicts will give Canada the strongest impaired-driving rules in the world, will also become law “in the near future,” she said.

With files from The Canadian Press
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the provinces need to hear "ASAP" from the federal government about what technology might be approved in testing for drug-impairment, while some experts say existing testing techniques are as good as it gets, even if they aren't perfect. File photo.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the provinces need to hear “ASAP” from the federal government about what technology might be approved in testing for drug-impairment, while some experts say existing testing techniques are as good as it gets, even if they aren’t perfect. File photo.

 

Isabelle Raghem