The legislation will be introduced next month, CBC News reported Sunday night. If true, the move would fulfill the Liberals’ promise to do so by the spring of this year.
The Liberal government plans to announce legislation next month that will legalize recreational marijuana use nationally by Canada Day 2018, CBC News reported Sunday night.
The report, aired first on CBC’s flagship TV show, The National, said the government plans to introduce the legislation the week of April 10.
Another report, however, indicated the bill would be introduced on April 20, or 4/20, a symbolic date for marijuana users.
According to the CBC report, Ottawa will secure the country’s marijuana supply and license producers. The national age limit to purchase the drug will be set at 18, but provinces will be able to set it higher.
Provinces will also control price, along with how marijuana is bought and sold.
Also, Canadians who wish to grow their own marijuana would be limited to four plants per household.
The new rules generally follow the recommendations of a federal task force chaired by Anne McLellan, a former justice minister. The task force delivered a 106-page report in December with 80 recommendations.
Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who, as a Liberal MP, was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s point person on the issue, briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and planned legislation during meetings this weekend, CBC said.
Marijuana legalization was a high-profile campaign promise for Trudeau. Announcing the legislation in April would fulfill the promise the Liberal government made on April 20, 2016, to do so this spring.
Before the CBC’s report Sunday night, NDP leadership candidates debating in Montreal believed the Liberal plan to move ahead on marijuana legalization was up in smoke and tried to position themselves as the pro-pot party.
B.C. MP Peter Julian, one of four contenders in the race to replace Thomas Mulcair as NDP leader, said the federal government had failed to keep its 2015 campaign pledge to legalize and regulate pot for recreational purposes.
“I believe in legalization,” Julian said during the NDP’s second leadership debate.
Many young people opted to support the Liberals in the last election due to this promise, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton said.
The Liberals ran a cynical campaign in 2015, added Ontario MP Charlie Angus, suggesting the Liberals ticked all the right boxes, including on pot, with no intention of pursuing them.
Speaking with the Star’s editorial board in December, Trudeau stressed that marijuana remains illegal until legislation passes. The prime minister also condemned the rise of illegal storefront dispensaries, some of which have popped up in Toronto.
“People are right now breaking the law,” Trudeau said.
“We haven’t changed the laws. We haven’t legalized it yet. Yes, we got a clear mandate to do that. We’ve said we will. We’ve said we’re going to do it to protect our kids and to keep the money out of the pockets of criminals.”