Pubdate: Wed, 20 Jun 2018
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2018 Star Tribune
Author: Rob Gillies, Associated Press


TORONTO - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday
marijuana will be legal nationwide on October 17.

Trudeau said in Parliament that the government is committed to better
protecting Canada's youth and hopes to take money away from organized

The Senate gave final passage to Trudeau's bill to legalize cannabis
on Tuesday. The country will become the second in the world to make
pot legal nationwide.

"The legislation is transformative," said Justice Minister Jody
Wilson-Raybould, adding it "marks a wholesale shift in how our country
approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of

The federal government had said provincial and territorial governments
will need eight to 12 weeks following Senate passage and royal assent
to prepare for retail sales. Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro
said officials listened to the provinces that asked for more time to
be able to prepare and implement the law.

"The law still remains the law," Wilson-Raybould said. "I urge all
Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis
Act comes into force."

Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide,
legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up
its own rules for pot sales. The federal government and the provinces
also still need to publish regulations that will govern the cannabis

Many questions remain unanswered, including how police will test
motorists suspected of driving under the influence, what to do about
those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules
governing home cultivation will work.

The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to
ban home-grown pot, even though the federal bill specifies that
individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.

"Provinces can set their own laws. If individuals are challenging that
law, they can challenge it," Wilson-Raybould said.

Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary
secretary to the justice minister, said discussions for pardons of
past convictions "can't take place" until legalization is in effect.

In the neighboring U.S., nine states and the District of Columbia have
legalized marijuana. California, home to one in eight Americans,
launched the United States' biggest legal marijuana marketplace on Jan

The news was also greeted with enthusiasm by marijuana advocates in
the U.S. Don Hartleben, who manages Dank of America, a retail cannabis
store just south of the border in Blaine, Washington, said Canada's
legalization was not only politically exciting, but a potential
business boon for him.

Many of his customers are Canadian tourists who are terrified of
trying to bring pot across the border, he said. If more use marijuana
when they're in Canada, more will use when they're on vacation in the

"People ask me all the time, 'Isn't legalization in Canada going to
hurt your business?'" he said. "I tell them, 'No! The more it's legal,
the more people are going to feel safe to buy my product.'"
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