Pot could be legal June 7, but sales delayed until at least August: Senator
Published Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:30PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:46PM EST
Cannabis could be legal for recreational use as soon as June 7, but Canadians will likely have to wait until at least early August to purchase it, independent Ontario Senator Tony Dean told CTV News Channel on Saturday.
“July 1 was always a target date,” Dean explained. “We’re going to see … a final vote by the Senate on June 7 that may require a bit of time for some amendments to be dealt with. But in a sense, if that bill is approved on June 7, cannabis will be legal in terms of the law -- it just won’t be available for another few weeks.”
On Thursday, Canadian senators struck a deal to hold their final vote on Bill C-45 -- the legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana -- on June 7.
According to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, provinces and territories would then need between eight to 12 weeks following royal assent (which would come immediately after the bill’s passage in the Upper House) to be ready for retail sales.
Barring amendments or the bill’s failure in the Red Chamber, that would mean recreational marijuana would be available for purchase in the first week of August, at the very earliest.
“What (my colleagues in Ontario) tell me and what I hear from other provinces and jurisdictions and other agencies and those who are getting ready for retail is, ‘Just give us some certainty; give us some predictability,’” Dean said of the federal government’s legalization timeline.
“I believe that the Health Minister has given them that now, I believe that the Senate has helped that in providing for the certainty of a final vote, and that’s nothing but good news as far as I’m concerned.”
Dean described the Senate deal as a victory for both the Liberal government and “those who called for more time” to plan for marijuana legalization.
“I’m just delighted at this development because it provides certainty and predictability to those people who have been seeking it most,” Dean said, citing provinces and municipalities, police forces, healthcare and harm reduction workers, as well as licensed producers, potential retailers and eager consumers.
“So yes, there may be a delay until August perhaps, a delay of a few weeks,” he said. “But with that delay comes a lot of certainty that wasn’t there a few days ago.”
With files from The Canadian Press