An anonymous source revealed to a CBC News Reporter on Monday that Canada may legalize cannabis as early as July 1, 2018. The source, a senior government official, attended a caucus meeting and shared that cannabis legislation may surface as soon as April 2017. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to substantiate the claims made by the anonymous official, but was quoted as saying that the Canadian government is committed to legislation that will “legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis.” No one has stepped forward to confirm the claims.
A marijuana task force, originally spearheaded by former Deputy PM Anne McLellan, was put in place last summer to act as an advisory team to discuss the inner workings of cannabis legalization with the government officials in Canada. The task force report, which came out in late November of 2016, was the result of five months of consultations and national collaboration between the task force, as well as “Canadians, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous governments and representative organizations and youth.”
“While moving away from cannabis prohibition is long overdue, we may not anticipate every nuance of future policy; after all, our society is still working out issues related to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco. We are aware of the shortcomings in our current knowledge base around cannabis and the effects of cannabis on human health and development.” – Task Force Report
For legal pot shops already in the works, the future is unclear. Will they be grandfathered into the new system, or given the opportunity to apply for a Federal license? We do know that there will be age and possession restrictions, similar to states that have legalized in the US. Without a doubt, Canada has an interest in keeping cannabis profits out of the hands of illegal markets, while simultaneously protecting its youth from non-medical exposure to the plant.
Unsurprisingly, Snoop Dogg is stoked. He Tweeted “Oh Canada!” in response to the CBC report, followed by a series of colorful emojis, including a red maple leaf and the smoke cloud symbol. We look forward to learning more in the days to come, but for now, let’s send good vibes to our neighbors to the north and hope they’ll soon become the “largest developed country to end recreational marijuana prohibition.”