Good news for green: Federal legislation
It’s a promising time for Canadian recreational cannabis. Bill C-45 passed a second reading in the Senate, and the plant is well on its way to becoming legal this summer.
44 senators voted in favour of the bill, while 29 opposed. The Cannabis Act will now move to a committee, where it may face extensive changes from Conservatives, who have criticized and questioned some of the bill’s logistical elements.
Despite a healthy amount of political debate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau feels confident he can work with the Senate to make good on his 2015 campaign promise of legalizing cannabis by summer 2018.
Initial reports alluded to a July 1st legalization date, but many politicians took issue with the introduction of recreational cannabis clashing with Canada Day celebrations. Following the recent positive progress with the Senate, Trudeau’s government says that legalization will occur sometime during the summer months of this year.
So, encouraging news: Expect cannabis to hit stores before the end of September.
Mosaic of marijuana laws: Provincial approaches
In the meantime, Canadian provinces and territories are preparing for the green rush in a variety of ways. It’s a mad dash to finalize retail regulations, consumption restrictions, tax revenues and law enforcement policies.
Here’s the lowdown on how retail stores will work in each region:
- In provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, government agencies will dole out private corporate licenses for brick-and-mortar stores.
- Cannabis sales in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, News Brunswick, Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island will follow a completely government-run retail model.
- In British Columbia and Yukon, it’ll be a mixture of the two models, with both private and government stores.
- Manitoba has issued licenses to four private companies to sell cannabis in stores.
- Nunavut isn’t planning to launch retail sales in 2018, because the territory is looking for more community input first.
How about the online sales of cannabis? Again, it’s a mixture of government and private websites that will digitally distribute in each province and territory.
- Government websites: Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Yukon
- Private websites: Manitoba, Saskatchewan
- Government, then private: Newfoundland and Labrador
- TBD: Quebec, Prince Edward Island
We’re turning an exciting page in Canadian history, one where we’re becoming more open, transparent and inclusive. As we march toward the legalization of recreational cannabis, this countrywide change represents a shift toward a more modern, free society.
From far-reaching federal and provincial laws to grassroots movements in our cities and towns, the policies and approaches we sow in our communities will create a ripple effect for generations to come. At Fire & Flower, we’re proud to play our part in shaping this legacy, through welcoming retail environments, honest education and tailored lifestyle advice.
Keep following our blog and social media as we break down the latest in the Canadian cannabis news and politics landscape.