As I'm sure you all already know, last week Quebec finally passed our legal Marijuana bill, after many amendments and a narrow vote.
We did it. We now have a law that covers the sale and production of Marijuana in Canada.
Though we made it in Quebec, you can bet there will still be a lot of discussions and amendments coming to our own provincial policy in the next while. Go out and vote this fall, it is important!
Still, while Quebec is ready to go with legal weed, we still need to wait for the federal government to get it together on their end before our new marijuana laws can actually be enforced.
Montreal, specifically, is already set to go for July with at least 4 dispensaries ready to open their doors... but we're going to need to wait for Parliament Hill to figure out their end, too.
Here is where everything currently stands on Bill C-45 in Ottawa.
Senators had some issues with the bill as it was currently written, and sent their amendments to local government for review.
Yesterday (Mon. June 18), a vote was held in the House of Commons that rejected several major amendments to Bill C-45, including a provision that would limit or ban home cultivation of marijuana, especially in Quebec.
205 MPs voted in favour of rejecting 13 of the proposed changes to Bill C-45, and it has been sent back to Senate for a final stamp of approval before it can become official law in Canada.
The official vote to send the bill back to Senate, rejecting the proposed changes was 205 in favour to 82 against. NDP members supported the bill while those on the Conservative benches voted against it.
Now, here's where it gets a little tricky and annoying. Many of these proposed changes to Bill C-45 came from senators opposed to specific points in the written law, such as home cultivation, or banning specific weed paraphernalia.
The government officially rejected these, and sent it back - we could see ourselves getting stuck in a vicious cycle here. If senators aren't happy that the government passed on their recommendations, they could send the bill back down to the House — ultimately delaying its passage and sending us into some sort of loop.
"The Senate does not regularly insist and create a ping-pong between the House and the Upper Chamber. It's only happened a few times in our history and on very, very consequential bills. I don't know if this one qualifies ... but if senators decide that the explanations are not sufficient and we get to it, then we are in that world again." - Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, head of the Independent Senators Group.
If senators opposed to the bill back down, and approve it as is, the bill will then be sent to the Governor General for royal assent.
If this happens, then it will finally be up to Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to choose the actual date when legalization of Marijuana is to commence in Canada. Here's hoping he will push it forward as soon as possible. But it doesn't stop there.
A provisional buffer period of 8-12 weeks will be granted to provinces to fully prepare themselves for the actual sale of recreational cannabis.
Essentially, even if the bill passes (finally) and Justin Trudeau gives us a legal date, every province can still delay their own provincial legislation for 8-12 weeks.
This is why many of us have been told that legal weed will likely not be available until September, or sometime close to the end of Summer.
I am admittedly ignorant when it comes to politics, but I am doing my best to fully understand exactly what is happening here.
We've been going back and forth between upper and lower government on this bill - but it seems like we're in the home stretch now and my fingers are crossed that this will soon be over!