Legal expert says Canada could see legalization within a year

Legal Expert Alan Young said Canada could see legalization of cannabis within a year.

Young, an associate professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School, said, due to similar legalization efforts in U.S. states, Canada’s cannabis reform won’t take the newly elected Liberals that long to enact cannabis regulations.

“The prime minister is in a good position because he’s not a front-runner on this issue,” Young said. “And because we’re just catching up, he has the luxury of being able to reflect and analyze on other models that have been developed in other jurisdictions.”

Young said the government should look at other areas that have gone forward to legalize and tax cannabis products, but cautioned that too long of a study would reduce the chance of legalization.

“I do not believe that it would take a long time to come up with a model that would suit Canada,” Young said, who predicted legalization could happen within the next year.

But, Simon Fraser University school of criminology director Neil Boyd suggested that legal reform for cannabis could be more drawn out than what Young suggested.

“I don’t think it will be a quick and easy process. I think there are a lot of issues to consider,” Boyd said. “It will be very important to get a sense of what has happened in Colorado and Washington and what to look out for, what kind of processes are best.

“It just seems to me there is question after question when you begin to look into this. But I do think it’s the better approach, taxation and regulation.”

Young said, ultimately, governments will look to the “mega-industry” of cannabis as a revenue stream.

“Unfortunately, the principled issue of what should be done will get caught up with the very pragmatic issue of people turning this into a business and a commodity and making money,” Young said.