17 October 2018, Canadian Marijuana Legalization Day
Marijuana will be legal nationwide in Canada starting on 17 October in a move that should take market share away from organized crime and protect the country’s youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a very optimistic and hopeful statement Wednesday.
The Senate gave final passage to the bill to legalize cannabis Tuesday, legislation that will make Canada only the 2nd country in the world to make cannabis legal across the country.
PM Trudeau said provincial and territorial governments need the time to prepare for retail sales.
“It is our hope as of October 17 there will be a smooth operation of retail cannabis outlets operated by the provinces with an online mail delivery system operated by the provinces that will ensure that this happens in an orderly fashion,” he said.
The PM said at a news conference that the goal is to take a significant part of the market share away from organized crime.
“Over the following months and indeed years we will completely replace or almost completely replace the organized crime market on that,” he said.
Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up its own rules for marijuana sales. The federal government and the provinces also still need to publish regulations that will govern the cannabis trade.
“The legislation is transformative,” said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, adding it “marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of prohibition.”
She urged Canadians to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force.
“The law still remains the law,” Ms. Wilson-Raybould said.
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.
The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to ban home-grown marijuana, even though the federal bill specifies that individuals can grow up to 4 plants per dwelling.
“Provinces can set their own laws. If individuals are challenging that law, they can challenge it,” Ms. Wilson-Raybould said.
Mr. Trudeau said they are going to treat it like wine and tobacco, noting that few people will cultivate it at home, but it is necessary to fight organized crime.
Canadian marijuana stocks have rallied in anticipation of legalization and jumped again on Wednesday.
In the US 9 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana. California, home to about 15% Americans, launched the United States’ biggest legal marijuana marketplace on 1 January, and contraband marijuana outsells the legal stuff, users do not like paying the California ‘weed’ tax. So, the organized crime issues is unsolved.