Despite bill's passing, marijuana still illegal for now: Justice minister

Arturo Kim
June 21, 2018

In fact, they won't be able to have a legal puff of cannabis until October 17, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced the new start date earlier today during Question Period in the House of Commons.

The prime minister said at a news conference that the goal is to take a significant part of the market share away from organized crime.

The legislation outlining the federal government's approach to legal pot (Bill C-45) passed the Senate on Tuesday night after a tense few days of legislative ping-pong between the Red Chamber and House of Commons.

The legislation - an electoral promise Trudeau and the Liberal Party -allows adults in Canada to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis.

Many questions remain unanswered, including how police will test motorists suspected of driving under the influence, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work.

"We recognize that anyone who is now purchasing marijuana is participating in illegal activity that is funding criminal organizations and street gangs", he said in January.

Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut have already chose to ban home-grown weed, despite the fact that the new federal law stipulates that individuals may grow up to four plants per dwelling.

Things like how it is sold and where it can be smoked will be decided by individual Provinces, but federal government will be in charge of packaging, health warnings and advertising.

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Wilson-Raybould said the federal government has no intention of challenging provincial bans on home-grown pot but she noted that some individuals may well launch legal challenges.

"There's a law that was duly passed in Quebec and that's the law of the province", she said.

"The impact is we're going to have all those involved in illegal marijuana peddling right now becoming large corporations and making a lot of money and they're going to be doing it at the expense of vulnerable people in this country", said Conservative Sen.

Trudeau said the government won't discuss pardons of past convictions until legalization is in effect.

Canadian marijuana stocks have rallied in anticipation of legalization and jumped again on Wednesday.

Nine U.S. states have legalised it for recreational use and 29 have allowed it for medicinal purposes. California, home to one in eight Americans, launched the United States' biggest legal marijuana marketplace on January 1.

The provinces then asked for extra time to plan how to regulate the sale of marijuana to the public. Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, a Canadian senator, made a recent visit to Washington, D.C. and was told by US law enforcement that Canadian travellers will soon be subject to stricter scrutiny at the border.

"People ask me all the time, 'Isn't legalization in Canada going to hurt your business?'" he said.

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