Trudeau About to Keep a Big Campaign Promise

Canada reportedly to legalize pot by July 2018
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2017 8:55 AM CDT
A woman exhales while smoking marijuana during the annual 4/20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on April 20, 2016.   (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – Since he started campaigning for his job, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has promised that marijuana legalization was high on his to-do list. Now his Liberal government is apparently about to make good on that vow: Per the CBC, pot will be legalized throughout the entire country by July 1, 2018, with legislation on the issue to be unveiled on April 10. (The Toronto Star cites another report that says the pot holiday 4/20 may be the target date, though the Globe and Mail notes the House of Commons will be on break during 4/20 week.) While quality control over the cannabis will fall to the federal government for safety reasons, and licensing will come out of Ottawa, each Canadian province will wield control over cost, distribution, and where pot can be sold. The nationwide age to legally buy marijuana will be set at 18, though provinces will be able to up that minimum.

The legislation follows recommendations in a 106-page report by a federal task force. This may slow the roll of Trudeau's political opponents—specifically the New Democrats—who've recently tried to nail the prime minister for breaking his campaign promise, which some have insinuated was made just to get votes. This premise has been helped along by the fact that Trudeau has remained firm on "[enforcing] the law" as it stands now, including hitting illegal pot dispensaries with criminal charges, the Star has reported. Although the latest news may boost Trudeau's credibility, a senior federal official tells the Globe that crafting the legislation is "big and complicated," with "lots of moving parts," and there have been rumblings that pot that's legal for recreational users may not happen until 2019 due to the complexities. (Sean Spicer's take on recreational pot in the US.)

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