Legalization will not be happening July 1st

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The Canadian Health Minister has announced a delay in the repeal of the 95-year prohibition of cannabis.

Minister Ginette  Perirpas Taylor spoke to reporters after a special briefing of the senate on Tuesday.

“There is going to be a transition period because we have to ensure that provinces and territories have the capacity to get the products in their shops,” says Ms. Petitpas Taylor.

 “They’ll need a period of time of up to eight to 12 weeks in order to properly ensure that their retail sales will be prepared.”

This announcement is no surprise after  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in December that the date for legalization would be “in the summer” but likely not July 1st.

These new comments from Ottawa almost guarantee the passage of the Cannabis act, Bill C-45, will not immediately usher in legalization. Prohibition will remain in place until the provinces enact their plans for sales and regulation of the substance, or the grace period runs out.

These delays are not unexpected but the uncertainty during the early stages of the legalization process makes it difficult to predict for  businesses in provinces that are allowing privatized sales.

The health minister’s comments were made after a special meeting of the Senate, called to discuss proposed cannabis policy.

Besides Petitpas Taylor, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and justice and health parliamentary secretary Bill Blair all appeared and took questions from Senators.

The session was scheduled to be televised, but did not appear on C-Pac.

Bill C-45 passed its third reading in the House of Commons late last year. Senate approval is the final step before the bill will ascend into law.

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