Canadian politicians, specifically those from the Conservative Party, are explicitly saying they will delay marijuana legalization past the July 2018 deadline by delaying the passage of two important bills.
Bill C-45 and C-46 are going to hit the Canadian senate floor in January. The bills deal with the specifics of legally consuming and selling marijuana and regulations on driving under the influence of cannabis, respectively.
But Conservative senators are saying that the two bills are far from perfect and need to be reviewed, heavily.
One Conservative senator, Claude Carignan, told The Globe & Mail that the review process for these two bills will take a total of eight months, at the least, to assess and review bills C-45 and C-46.
Adding in the Senate’s summer break, that bill-review-timeline would set back marijuana legalization to the end of next year. And that’s a best case scenario for Conservative senators.
"I think we have to do our job properly, and that means months," said Claude Carignan, a Conservative senator and vocal critic on marijuana legalization.
Conservative party members in the Senate of Canada say that the two bills, in their current form, do not do enough when it comes to drug testing, taxes, and police training, among other issues.
If marijuana legalization is delayed past July 2018, the date promised by the Trudeau government, it could really hurt individual provinces and some business investors.
Provincial governments have already started to prepare for legal marijuana by doling out more licensed producer accreditation and investing (along with some private companies) in ways to sell weed. Delaying marijuana legalization by half a year (if not more) will seriously hurt the return on these investments.
Somewhat fortunately, the plan to delay marijuana legalization isn’t a guarantee. Conservative senators will only be able to hold up legalization if other senators don’t work to speed up the process.
As The Globe & Mail points out, however, there aren’t enough Liberal senators to push the bill through. Marijuana legalization will rely on the support of independent senators (those with no specific political party allegiance) to meet the July 2018 deadline.
Hopefully, that will be the case. There are also eleven empty seats in the Canadian Senate right now, spots Trudeau could (and hopefully, will) fill with pro-legalization senators to ensure bills C-45 and C-46 pass in a timely fashion.