The Liberal government is pushing ahead with its plans to legalize marijuana on July 1, 2018

The Liberal government is pushing ahead with its plans to legalize marijuana on July 1, 2018
Photo Credit: PC / Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/April 20, 2011

Nearly half of Canadians want Ottawa to delay July 1 pot legalization deadline

While two-thirds of Canadians support Ottawa’s plans to legalize marijuana, close to half say the federal government should push back the July 1, 2018 deadline for legalization, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.

Support for delaying the timeline for legalization is the strongest in Canada’s two most populous provinces Ontario and Quebec, where six-in-ten respondents say they are not sure that their provincial governments will be ready in time.

By contrast, seven-in-ten respondents on Canada Atlantic and Pacific coasts want the timeline respected.

Four-in-ten Canadians (41 per cent) agree with that the government’s plan to add $1.00 per gram excise tax on top of existing sales taxes.

Nearly one-fifth of respondents feel that there should be no excise tax (22 per cent), while the same number of people (22 per cent) say they would have opted for more than $1.

Most Canadians (56 per cent) also agree with the government’s plan to split the revenue from the sale of marijuana 50/50 between the provincial and federal governments. However, four-in-ten (40 per cent), say the provinces should get a greater share of revenues.

While marijuana is expected to be legalized on July 1, 2018, users will encounter of a patchwork of regulations across Canada.
While marijuana is expected to be legalized on July 1, 2018, users will encounter of a patchwork of regulations across Canada. © Associated Press

The Liberal government’s Bill C-45 on legalizing marijuana cleared one of the main legislative hurdles on Nov. 27 when it was passed by the House of Commons with 200 MPs voting in favour and 82 against the legislation.

The bill will now have to secure the support of the Senate.

Under the Canadian constitution the federal government has the power to legalize marijuana across the country but setting up a system of regulations for the licencing, sale and distribution of pot is a provincial and territorial prerogative.

However, the federal government’s plan to implement the legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018 has left many provinces and territories scrambling to come up with a system to licence the product and oversee its distribution and sale.

This has created a patchwork of differing regulations across the country, CBC News reported:

Brief overview of provincial plans:

B.C.

British Columbia hasn’t unveiled its plan.

Alberta

In Alberta, a bill has been introduced that would make the government responsible for any online retail marijuana sales. But the private sector isn’t being shut out —  retail locations would be operated by private companies.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission would be responsible for oversight of private retail, and details on licensing will be available early next year, the province said.

The bill would set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18, the same as the province’s legal drinking age. It would also ban the sale of cannabis alongside alcohol, pharmaceuticals or tobacco.

Saskatchewan

The government of Saskatchewan hasn’t rolled out its plan yet.

Manitoba

In Manitoba, the province has said it will pursue a “hybrid model” for selling marijuana. The Liquor and Gaming Authority (LGA) will regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis while the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) will secure and track supply of cannabis sold in the province. But as in Alberta, the private sector will be responsible for selling the product. Another unknown in Manitoba is what the legal age to buy pot will be.

Ontario 

The Ontario government plans to open stand-alone stores, all run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). But people shopping at the stores won’t be able to browse the aisles and grab what they want, the province says. Instead, there will be a behind-the-counter setup similar to what’s seen now when buying cigarettes. The initial rollout includes 80 stores, but the province says online shopping will cover the province. As it is for alcohol purchases, the minimum age to purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario would be 19.

Quebec 

Under Quebec’s proposed legislation, buyers will need to be at least 18 years old. The proposed legislation would bar people from growing cannabis for personal use at home and would limit smoking to the same places where people can currently light up a cigarette. The Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC) will buy pot from a producer and deal with transportation and storage of the product. There will be 15 stores scattered around the province, and online sales will also be on offer.

New Brunswick

Under the province’s proposal, there will be no smoking in public places and there will be a limit on how many grams a person can carry. At home, people can store however much they like, but they have to keep it in either a locked-up room or a locked container.

Up to 20 government-run stores will be established with strict policies in place: they will be located at least 300 metres away from schools, they will only display products under glass, and customers will need to show identification to prove they are of legal age — 19 years or older — before they can even get in.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador would have a minimum age of 19 to buy and use marijuana, in line with its current drinking age. Pot will be sold in approved private stores, with distribution handled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).

Nova Scotia

The government has said that it hopes to unveil its marijuana plan by the end of 2017.

P.E.I

The P.E.I. government expects to present draft legislation on the issue in the spring.

Yukon

In Yukon, the legal age to buy marijuana will be 19. According to the territorial government website, Yukon will “own and operate at least one retail store and provide an e-commerce option.”

Northwest Territories

The government in the Northwest Territories has also has been holding public consultations and will be looking at the results of its own online survey.

Nunavut

​The Nunavut government has not yet unveiled its plan or released the results of its survey regarding pot legalization.

With files from CBC News

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One comment on “Nearly half of Canadians want Ottawa to delay July 1 pot legalization deadline
  1. Judith Peach says:

    From their website: “The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from November 14 – 20 among a representative randomized sample of 1510 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.”

    I wonder how accurately Angus Reid surveys represent the opinions and beliefs of Canadians as a whole.