Can Justin Trudeau Keep to His Spring Legalization Timeframe? | Marijuana

Can Justin Trudeau Keep to His Spring Legalization Timeframe?


Ever since Justin Trudeau won a Liberal majority and became the leader of Canada in October of 2015, he has been steadfast to keep his election promise of legalizing adult-use cannabis. He may not be executing the legislation in a way that the whole country agrees upon, but the general consensus is satisfied that pot will be legal regardless of how that’s accomplished.

The scheduled timeline for marijuana legislation is spring of this year, but the task force and the Prime Minister have indicated that, although the rules will be set, it may be some time before Canadians can vape in peace.

task force jane philpott

Minister of Health Jane Philpott at the Canada 2020 Healthcare Summit

These sentiments were recently reiterated by the head of the marijuana task force, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, in an interview with News 1130. In the podcast interview, she said “We need to make sure that there is a strict regulatory process in place and that there are restrictions in terms of access. We also have work to do on the public education front.”

Domestic challenges aside, there is also the messy process of exiting three international drug treaties that Canada was a party to in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Experts have indicated that backing out of these accords might require changing Canada’s constitution, convincing other UN countries to allow Canada an exemption from the treaties, or to formally withdraw from the treaties altogether.

The efforts of the federal government clearly require time and patience, but will Canadians at least be able to enjoy their favorite ganja before the next federal election in 2019? All Minister Philpott would say on the matter is “At this point, I can’t give you a specific timeline.”

While the whole country salivates for some Chocolope, prognosticators in the Parliamentary Budget Office are predicting that if everything goes ahead quickly, annual revenues from cannabis sales in 2018 could range anywhere from $618 million to upwards of a billion dollars, depending on tax rates. They have also predicted that pot will sell for approximately $9 per gram and that 4.6 million Canadians will try marijuana the first year it is legalized.

Because Trudeau has refused to decriminalize marijuana before legalizing it for adult-use, the medical marijuana system has seen incredible growth with the number of patients tripling in just one year. That will no doubt spur business for the unlicensed dispensaries across the country; which is a current problem for the Prime Minister as he engages local law enforcement to crack down on these activities.

While all of this movement continues, Canada patiently waits for unnecessary prohibition to finally die and never return. It’s true that the watched pot never boils fast enough for the hungry.

Image courtesy of Art Babych/

About Author

Jon Hiltz was a journalist for for two years and is now director of content for INDIVA, a licensed cannabis producer in Ontario Canada.

1 Comment

  1. If Canada insists on a nice exit from those international drug treaties, then 2018 might be a very aggressive timeframe. That kind of stuff takes time given the way Federal and International bureaucracies work. Canada isn’t the kind of country that will just say “fuck it” and withdraw unilaterally.

    Until Trudeau started Canada down this path, I hadn’t fully appreciated the value of the US states taking the initiative. They aren’t party to the international treaties. Only the Feds.

    Of course, nobody knows how this will change under Trump/Sessions. Medical might indeed have a resurgence in the US (as you report in Canada) if they mess around with the state’s various 21+ regulations.

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