Blair: Pot legalization ‘will take as much time as it takes to get it right’

Only days before Toronto police spearheaded a series of raids on Cannabis Culture outlets in different cities across Canada, the force’s former chief – current pot czar Bill Blair – said there’s no rush to legalize recreational use.

“We will take as much time as it takes to get it right,” Blair recently told Bloomberg. “I’m pretty reluctant to suggest a specific time frame, frankly, because I don’t know how long this will take in each of our 10 provinces and three territories.”

A bill to formally legalize adult-use is still expected in the next few months, but the Liberal government will apparently “take its time” with specific regulations.

Blair, the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, declined to say whether the new system will be ready by next year or if work on it may stretch into 2019.

In another recent interview on the CBC’s Power and Politics show, Blair said the feds want to design a system that included measurement and testing of products as well as enforcement. While the proposed legislation is due this spring, “it’s not sufficient to simply come forward with a bill,” he said.

The shares of Canadian licensed pot producers fell dramatically after Blair’s comments.

The biggest player, Canopy Growth, saw its market value drop nearly 18 per cent between Monday’s close and Wednesday morning, to around $1.53 billion. That’s a market value loss of more than $300 million.

Most other LP stocks fell yesterday as well, with Aurora Cannabis down 6.7 per cent, OrganiGram down 12.6 per cent and Supreme Pharmaceuticals falling 11.2 per cent as of 11:30 am ET Wednesday.