Mixed reaction to marijuana legalization bill
Published Thursday, April 13, 2017 4:19PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:20PM EDT
The Liberal government has taken a major step toward fulfilling one of its biggest and most controversial campaign promises: legalizing recreational marijuana.
The proposed legislation, officially known as Bill C-45, would allow adults over 18 to buy and grow small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
The legal framework also includes safeguards to help keep the drug out of the hands of young people, such as making selling pot to a minor a serious criminal offence.
The government plans to have a nation-wide system for pot regulation in place by June 2018.
Provinces and territories will be responsible for setting their own rules on how the drug is licensed, distributed and sold in retail stores, as well as adjusting provincial traffic laws to accommodate the change.
The long-awaited announcement was met with mixed reaction. Some hailed the bill as an end of pot prohibition while others criticized restrictions within the bill.
“No matter where we start, I believe that we will evolve into a system whereby cannabis is treated very much the same as alcohol,” Cam Battley, Executive Vice President of Aurora Cannabis told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday, adding that the cost of store-bought pot will be a key issue.
“For the last 40 years or so, the cost of cannabis has been pretty consistent across Canada at about $10 per gram, and a little bit less if it was purchased by the ounce. So we have to assume that there’s going to be a maximum price for legal consumer cannabis of around $10 per gram, and then taxes will have to be applied under that.”
Conservative deputy justice critic Michael Cooper called the timeline to fully legalize marijuana “rushed and arbitrary” and suggested that there are more questions left today than answers.
“The Liberals have not explained how legalization is going to make it safe for our kids, safe for motorists, make it safe at workplaces. They shed no light in terms of a cost,” Cooper said.
The NDP openly supports the decriminalization of marijuana, but NDP MP Rachel Blaney criticized the government for how its plan will unfold on a regional basis.
“They’re totally downloading this onto the provinces,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top members of his cabinet tweeted details of the announcement Thursday.
It's too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We're going to change that. Details: https://t.co/7j1LycYisi— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 13, 2017
Today we tabled new legislation to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis. /1 pic.twitter.com/m7ynHUKc0B— Jane Philpott (@janephilpott) April 13, 2017
Justice Canada sent out a friendly reminder that the bill doesn’t mean that pot is legal just yet.
Many lauded the announcement, saying that it’s about time for legalized pot in Canada.
Canada really is the world leader and pioneer in this industry and global market. It's go time, big time. #cannabis— Rosy Mondin (@rosymondin) April 12, 2017
It's a great day in Canadian history. The govt finally tabled legislation today to legalize adult consumer use of cannabis by July 1, 2018. pic.twitter.com/oXgtOQM94i— Aurora Cannabis (@Aurora_MMJ) April 13, 2017
@JustinTrudeau Wonderful!! Thank you!! Finally a Party that actually listens AND acts for the people!!— Kate (@CdnKate) April 13, 2017
Others, including marijuana activist Jodie Emery, weren’t quite sold on the bill.
I support reasonable regulation of cannabis, not a "free for all". This Liberal "legalization" is not reasonable. It's prohibitive. #cdnpoli— Jodie Emery (@JodieEmery) April 13, 2017
#marijuana makes people stupid, at best.— Astrid Rammo (@astrid_rammo) April 13, 2017
There were plenty of questions about precisely how the new framework for legalization will be rolled out, and how the new laws will be enforced.
@JustinTrudeau Are you doing the same for alcohol and tobacco? Kids need protection. But weed never killed anyone! Hope you will get it licensed for pain?— Kim (@MumOlsson) April 13, 2017
Some people asked whether the government plans to propose limitations on where people can smoke marijuana in public.
@JustinTrudeau Can you also pass a law making it illegal to smoke marijuana outside? Tired of smelling it when people are smoking it down the street.— Soren (@zzzoren) April 13, 2017
A few Americans weighed in on the Canadian political news, too.
@JustinTrudeau We in Colorado will tell you, regulation works! Sell it like liquor, the kids have a harder time obtaining it & adults don't go to jail.— NEVER my prez (@A_Big_Hell_NO) April 13, 2017
Canada is legalizing weed and we are dropping bombs smh— Melany Rosario (@M3lanyRosario) April 13, 2017