If you've noticed a slight disturbance in the force this week, it’s because Canadians have been nervously awaiting a response to the proposed one-year delay of the federal legalization of cannabis.
Stomping out any speculation from his initially evasive response on Wednesday (May 2), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a clear and firm message to the press in the House of Commons today (May 3).
"Every single day, Canadians are hurt and harmed by the current approach on marijuana. It's not working," he said in a media scrum.
"We are going to be moving forward this summer on the legalization of cannabis."
Facing calls for a delay in marijuana legalization, PM Justin Trudeau says "Every single day, Canadians are hurt and harmed by the current approach on marijuana. It's not working"; asserts "we are going to be moving forward this summer on the legalization of cannabis." #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/1bNEJAwwXu— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) May 3, 2018
This comes in response to a surge of pushback against Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, over the last few weeks in the Senate—the most recent being a call for a minimum one-year delay by the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
The committee urged Liberals to push the vote on the grounds that Indigenous communities were underrepresented in the consultation process. Topics the committee wishes to address before the bill is finalized include the sharing of excise tax revenue, addiction prevention, public health education, and the ability to choose legalization in respective regions.
Defending the proposed framework, Trudeau said all regulations were based on months, if not years, of consultations and data. He also reaffirmed that this bill was a campaign promise and a public health and safety issue he intends to fix.
"We have been talking about this since well before we formed government. We have been working with our partners across the country on making this happen and we are going to be moving forward this summer," he said.
The federal government also faced harsh criticism from the Canadian Real Estate Association as it called for a moratorium on home cultivation. CEO Michael Bourque appeared at a Senate committee panel on Monday (April 30) to raise concerns about the increased risk of property damage, fires, and crime, if consumers are allowed to grow up to four plants in their households.
"It's not an event, it's a process," said Trudeau, leaving the door open for changes and improvements to the bill post-legalization.
"We will continue to work with our partners in provinces, municipalities, and in Indigenous communities to ensure we are getting this right and we're moving forward in a responsible way."
The final Senate vote is set to take place on June 7.