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Canada Expected to Legalize Cannabis by July 1, 2018

March 26, 2017
A Canada flag moving in the wind on the back of a vessel close to sunset.
CBC News reported earlier this evening that Canada’s Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is expected to propose legislation in early April that will, if adopted, lead to the full adult-use legalization of cannabis by July 1, 2018.

CBC News has learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10 and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan,” the news report stated. 

The plan: federal legalization, for everyone 18 and older, by Canada Day 2018.

The network further reported that Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief who has been leading the cannabis legalization project for Trudeau’s government, briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and the legislation during caucus meetings this weekend.

Included in the recommendations is a separation of powers between the federal, provincial and municipal governments, which all will have a stake in the cannabis economy and the tax revenue it is expected to generate.

According to those briefed on the plan, the federal government will control the licensing of cannabis growers. Medical cannabis producers are currently licensed by Health Canada, and they distribute medicine to patients through the mail. Adult-use distribution systems–whether by mail, delivery, or in retail stores–will be established by the provinces, which will also possibly control a provincial cannabis tax.

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Federal authorities will set a minimum purchasing and possession age of 18, but each province will have the ability to set a higher age limit if it so chooses.

There’s no word yet on whether existing medical cannabis dispensaries, which are not licensed, will be grandfathered into the new system or allowed to apply for federal and provincial licenses. Currently in Canada there are varying degrees of tolerance for storefront dispensaries, ranging from city-licensed dispensaries in cities such as Vancouver and Victoria to police cracking down on storefronts in Halifax, Toronto and Montreal.

Home Grow: Four Plants Per Household

The CBC report concludes by saying that Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household. This is significant, as law enforcement lobbied heavily against allowing any home cultivation at all, citing security, health and fire risks. Advocates in favor of home cultivation cited personal rights, and freedoms, and environmental impacts.

Under the proposed plan, federal legalization would kick in by July 1, 2018, but a legal retail market may take a bit longer to establish–because each province will have to create its own regulatory system before issuing licenses or permits to operate.

Once introduced, the legislation will go through the parliamentary process until it becomes law. The government anticipates this to occur by July 1st, 2018 which is coincidentally Canada Day, birthdate of Canadian confederation.

The Liberal Party of Canada adopted the legalization of cannabis in 2012 as a part of their party platform after it passed with the support of more than 70% of the delegates at a national convention in Ottawa. The policy was introduced by the Young Liberals of Canada/British Columbia. Justin Trudeau, during his campaign to become Prime Minister of Canada, spoke with conviction and continued commitment to this policy. If approved, Canada will be the first of the G7 nations to federally legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis. 

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Kelly Coulter's Bio Image

Kelly Coulter

Kelly Coulter is a journalist, essayist, and cannabis policy advisor based in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s been writing about and advocating for policy change in the cannabis space for more than 15 years.

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  • Evan Heiser

    Hmmmm…I’m packing my bags right now. I WISH…

    • farmerlion

      It all sounds great. congratulations Canada. The home grown number of plants should be higher. Now you will have to do two grows a year instead of one. But growing is fun. Enjoy your freedom and rights my northern neighbor’s. Peace

  • Voiceof thecitizens

    THANK YOU CANADA for joining the movement in putting an end to CANNABIS PROHIBITION world wide!

    APPLAUD all States and Countries that allow adults access to legal regulated cannabis that is tested for impurities from safe secure outlets. This my friend has public safety and welfare written all over it. Accountability brings harmony and respect to an herb and will end 75+ years of PARANOID POT PROPAGANDA!

    Finally we can separate adult use from minor use through regulation and education on a mature level. (NOTE* All regulated markets of cannabis show a decrease of minors use.)

    • Robert Gerus

      I don’t understand why you all are giving son of fuddle-duddle praise he has done nothing yet. Marijuana was suppose to be legal last year, but it isn’t, because he fuddle-duddle boy didn’t have his finger in the pie. The government was suppose to legalize last year but got cold feet and the cops like busting people for smoking CBD marijuana. Not the stuff that get you really high, only Mr fuddle-duddle is alowed to smoke that stuff, ever look at his eye’s, they look like two pissholes in the snow. That’s why he want’s to only work 4 days a week. He’s fucken stoned all the time. I bet his dad smoked him up when he was little. He’s just another pusher man. pissmeoff

    • frankgrimes78

      Could u please read my reply to the story. If u investigate, & learn I’m not exaggerating or lying, please just tell one person even, this is going to screw up what should be great, & it will not be fixable once they get their way, our government I mean, lol

  • Tim Jones

    That is wonderful news. Now the rest of the civilized world needs to Catholic up and do the right thing. I will definitely be visiting my wonderful neighbors to the north again.

  • AWESOME! Now if the US would just wake up.

    • DeeDee

      no kidding! i live in a state in the USA where cannabis is illegal & want it/need it (Rick Simpson Oil) to
      treat lymphoma. it sucks that both our governments are robbing us of a God-given right!

  • Samuel Normand

    This is bullshit. They keep pushing it to the next year.

  • Been waiting for the announcement for what seems like forever.
    Glad to hear it. Now watch those Canadian cannabis stocks.

  • Mark Skinner

    All of my adult life. from 17 onward I have been a fucking criminal because I chose to smoke a garden weed that made me feel nice.
    By the time I am dead that weed will be legal. Whoopee fuckin’ doo for legalisation and legislators. I will be able to die a free man.
    You can stick your legalisation the same place as religion. I don’t want either.

  • Thank you Canada. Show the idiots in Washington how its done. 🙂

  • Sierra

    Well, looks like I’m moving to Canada.