A major point of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election platform finally has a deadline for completion. Marijuana will be legalized from coast to coast this summer.
Trudeau made headlines and spurred controversy by articulating his intentions to legalize marijuana during the 2015 federal election, however, very little has been said to date regarding when it would happen.
But during Justin Trudeau’s most recent visit to British Columbia, he informed local reporters that his government is ready to roll-out a legalized marijuana system this summer. This also coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday as a country. Leave it to Trudeau to ring in Canada’s birthday with legal marijuana.
The comments were delivered at his Vancouver and Victoria trip kickoff at CFB Esquimalt, where he expressed frustration that existing drug laws were not being upheld because people assume they won’t be arrested because Trudeau is ‘one of them.’
Trudeau, however, re-verified that he is legalizing marijuana because currently Canada ranks highest in the world at ease of access to marijuana by minors, and thus through regulation and control, the government will be able to limit access. He went on to add that this will take money off the street, which ultimately is often funnels into the hands of criminal groups with offshoots in other, more serious, areas.
“Until we have a framework to control and regulate marijuana, the current laws apply,” he explained. People are right now breaking the law. So, I don’t know how much clearer we can be that we’re not legalizing marijuana to please recreational users.”
This gross misunderstanding about the political system also demonstrates a totally passive attitude toward keeping informed on these updates. Trudeau has continually articulated that he is not legalizing marijuana to please recreational users, and claims it’s also not for economic purposes from the taxation.
Government in each of the provinces are currently evaluating what the legalization of marijuana would mean for citizens of their region. At Queen’s Park, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is proposing that the sale of marijuana be limited to the LCBO and similar controlled points of sale in other provinces. According to Wynne, pop-up weed dispensaries are causing intense legislative problems in Toronto and other major cities across Ontario.
“I think that’s why we are seeing these shops put up. Right now the only mechanism to deal with those is municipal bylaws. We need that federal framework in order to be able to put a regulatory regime in place…It’s true that within our government we are looking at — once the federal framework is in place — what would we be prepared to do as a province in terms of regulating marijuana… I only put the LCBO forward as a possibility because it already exists, because we understand how it could regulate the substance.”
The federal task force with which the Trudeau government asked to examine the issue includes dozens of departments. Ministries of Health, Education, Finance, Transportation, the Attorney General, Community Safety and Correctional Services, Municipal Affairs, Children and Youth Services, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Community and Social Services, the Treasury Board secretariat, and the cabinet office are all involved. For Prime Minister Trudeau, this seems to be very much an “all hands on deck” issue.
The task force highlighted a number of potential concerns and divided them into overarching categories, whose recommendations give Canadians an idea of what this legalized marijuana situation might look like.
It has been proposed by the task force, firstly, that the minimum age of purchase be set to 18, but that provinces might alter that to match the age of which citizens are permitted to purchase alcohol.
Contrary to Wynne’s statements, it was advised that alcohol and cannabis not be sold at a single location. The stores, they say, should be limited in terms of “density” and proximity to schools and parks. Rules pertaining to marketing the product would apply similarly to cannabis as to tobacco, and packaging may indicate the amount of active ingredients present in the amount purchased.
“[Packing ought to contain] company name, strain name, price, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) amounts and health warnings.”
Public smoking restrictions are advised to extend to cover both cannabis use and vaping, but also to permit places dedicated to marijuana consumption, such as lounges. The task force also suggests that maximums on purchases should be set, and the suggested maximum per purchase be a shocking 30g.
They also suggest that the Trudeau government permit personal cultivation of up to four plants per residence, with height limits and implementation of a system that allows individuals to obtain growing licenses.
Of course, there is also the highly contentious issue of how to ensure Canadians are not driving under the influence of cannabis. While the Trudeau government has not yet rolled out a system of action on this point, it is presumed that this information will be released soon.