VIDEO: Pot plan proceeding apace, Trudeau insists, despite calls for delay

Trudeau says the plan to make recreational pot legal by this summer will go ahead without delay

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t backing down from his government’s much-maligned timeline for legalizing marijuana, despite a growing chorus of calls from senators, Indigenous leaders and others to delay the plan for up to a year.

Trudeau says the plan to make recreational pot legal by this summer will go ahead without delay.

“We’re going to continue to move forward. We’re going to bring in legalization as we’ve committed to this summer on schedule,” Trudeau said Thursday.

That declaration followed comments the previous day that suggested he was open to slowing down the process, following a Senate committee report calling for more consultation with First Nations on taxation, education materials and addictions treatment.

Every single day that marijuana remains illegal, Canadians are being harmed, proving that the current approach is not working, Trudeau said, predicting that legalization would take control away from criminal organizations and drug dealers.

“Right now young people have far too easy access in Canada to marijuana. Criminal organizations make billions of dollars a year in profits on the sale of marijuana,” Trudeau said.

“We need to move forward on a system that controls and regulates while protecting our kids and our communities.”

Legalization is a process, not an event, he repeated — one that will involve continued work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous leaders to ensure the law is rolled out properly.

WATCH: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

READ MORE: 39% of pot users say they drive after smoking: Health Canada survey

But some provinces have raised concerns about the legalization plans, particularly as they will apply to home cultivation of marijuana.

The federal pot bill, Bill C-45, would make it legal for Canadians to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, with provinces and territories having the latitude to impose their own limits. Manitoba and Quebec say they will forbid home cultivation of any kind; a second Senate report this week recommended a similar outright ban.

Trudeau said the federal government’s decisions on such elements of the bill were developed after years of consultations with experts looking at the most effective ways to cut criminal elements out of the sale of marijuana.

“The decision on home cultivation of up to four plants was based on logic and evidence and it’s one that we will continue to establish as part of the federal framework,” he said.

“Make no mistake. This is a public health and public safety issue that we committed to in the election campaign and that we will be moving forward with this summer.”

But don’t expect to see any other street drugs legalized anytime soon.

Trudeau met Thursday in Ottawa with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who told their joint news conference about his country’s decision in 2000 to decriminalize illicit drugs, and how that has helped to mitigate their addiction problems.

Portugal now treats drug users as individuals who need care, rather than as criminals, Costa said — a measure that involved bolstering the country’s health care system to offer treatment alternatives, rather than jail time, and which has earned plaudits from the United Nations. Costa also made a point of noting the difference between decriminalization and outright legalization.

Some backbench Liberal MPs have been pushing for Canada to adopt a similar approach as a way to deal with the ongoing opioid crisis.

But Trudeau said while he he is always interested in looking at the successes of other countries, his government has absolutely no intention of legalizing any more illicit drugs.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP say busts and arrests will have an impact on organized crime

Over $350,000 worth of drugs seized by police after busts in Nanaimo, Vancouver and Richmond

Nanaimo byelection candidates outline their priorities

Candidates provide their reasons for running and their priorities, in their own words

Investigation ongoing after hit-and-run in downtown Nanaimo leaves woman injured

Police say a Toyota Camry found abandoned on Cliff Street in Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Respect ferry etiquette

Letter writer suggests that we consider the ferry terminal and the ferry itself as a ‘village’

Western Edge Theatre presents ‘Between the Sheets’ at Harbour City Theatre

Canadian play centres on an intense parent-teacher interview

Nanaimo byelection candidates get their first chance to debate

NDP, B.C. Liberals, Greens participated in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate Monday

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

Most Read