If you were hoping to buy recreational marijuana in Canada on July 1, think again. Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pushed for legalization to officially go live in July, thanks to the latest Senate timetable, that’s not going to happen. Instead, the new timeline put go-live sometime in August if not later.
In February, the Canadian government acknowledged that legalization wouldn’t happen until at least a month past their target date. According to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, though the Senate vote to legalize recreational marijuana is on track for June 7, 2018, that won’t give Canada’s provinces and territories enough time to get ready. Taylor stated that the original target date wasn’t realistic and that it will, in reality, take eight to twelve weeks after bill approval to start selling marijuana.
“There’s no exact date but, if you do the math, you’ll see it won’t be July 2018,” Taylor told reporters with CBC News Canada. “Cannabis legalization is not about a date; it’s about a process … We want this process done as seamlessly as possible.”
What could delay it more? If even one province or territory lags on getting ready for recreational marijuana sales, the entire country lags. That’s because Taylor stated that all provinces and territories would begin allowing legal marijuana sales at the same time.
For conservatives against legalization, the delay is a small victory. It gives them a chance to further study the implications of the bill and the implications of legalizing the cannabis industry. They’re worried that new law will endanger youth, create a backlog of court cases, increase smoking and complicate police work. With more time, they have the chance to push a “handful” of amendments to the bill.
As for those who defend the bill, the delay is nothing more than a slight setback, though one with some far-reaching consequences. When news of the delay reached the stock market, marijuana stocks began to fall. Canopy Growth (TWMJF) fell by 6% while Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF) and Aphria (APHQF) fell by 7% and MedReleaf (MEDFF) fell by 8%.
More than the stock market, the delay could also hurt revenue. According to projections of market size, the industry could lose as little as $350 million for a one-month delay to as much as $2 billion for a lengthier wait.
Still, there’s good news. The date of June 7 for the vote is set. After that, it’s just a matter of time before cannabis legalization happens. We’ll just have to wait.