Conservative politicians are threatening to delay Canada’s plans for legalizing recreational cannabis by holding up the passage of two instrumental bills geared towards the regulation of the plant.
Canada Delaying Marijuana Legalization
Bills C-45 and C-46, which deal with the consumption and sale of the plant, and a set of guidelines for driving under the influence of cannabis, respectively, are set to be reviewed in January. However, Conservative senators are saying the bills could take at least eight months to be properly examined—a time frame that could push full legalization until the end of the year in a best-case scenario.
“I think we have to do our job properly, and that means months,” Conservative Senator Claude Carignan told the Globe and Mail. “The House took eight months to study the bills. It will probably take the same timeline to do our job properly.”
Conservative members believe the bills aren’t close to being ready in their current stages.
Carignan said the bills do not solve a variety of issues, including employee drug tests, training for police forces, tax implications and the impact of legalization on Canada’s youth.
The decision to delay the passage of the two bills could have serious ramifications for provincial governments and small businesses alike. Retail marijuana production has already ramped up in preparation for Justin Trudeau’s initial July 1 projection, and the state has doled out a number of growers licenses ahead of the deadline. Additionally, police forces have begun the process of training their officers in new cannabis protocol.
However, Carignan contends business owners should not be surprised, considering there was no definitive set of laws in place when they began the process.
“[They] take a risk if they adopt a plan… without legislation in place adopted by both houses,” Carignan said. “My recommendation is to take their time and don’t take an unusual business risk.”
Final Hit: Is Canada Delaying Marijuana Legalization Past July 2018?
Despite the Conservatives’ agenda, there’s no guarantee they can delay the looming legalization of recreational cannabis.
If other senators work to speed up the process, they can thwart the attempt to hold up the bills’ passages. However, at the moment, there aren’t enough Liberal senators to offset the Conservatives. The process will be solely left up to independent senators, who subscribe to no particular set of views.
There is one more hope, however.
There is a total of 11 empty seats in the Canadian Senate at the moment. If Trudeau manages to fill those seats with pro-cannabis senators, he would have a good chance of getting bills C-45 and C-46 passed by his July 1 deadline. But until then, it’s up to the independent senators to organize themselves and fight against the Conservatives’ anti-weed agenda.