During a trip to Vancouver city hall last week, prime minister Justin Trudeau offered up little in the way of new information on his plan to legalize and regulate cannabis.
“Obviously, the Criminal Code will need to be adjusted if we are going to control and regulate, and that is something that the federal government will do,” Trudeau said. “But when it comes to distribution, when it comes to selling and engaging, obviously the provinces and indeed the municipalities will have to be an integral part of that discussion.”
Trudeau said he expects different models for regulation and sale to be put forward by cities and provinces.
“The challenge of getting this important initiative right is one of ensuring that we are broadly listening to partners, to folks from the medical marijuana industry, to municipal partners, to provinces, and, of course, drawing on best practices from around the world,” Trudeau said.
After meeting with the prime minister, mayor Gregor Robertson said Vancouver’s current licensing process is flawed and was a reaction to the Harper government’s lack of direction.
“Our system is based on the lack of any rational federal policy or regulation on marijuana so it’s been very difficult to manage at a local level,” Robertson said. “So we look forward to a new approach and regulations from Ottawa that we can partner with on the distribution side.”
Answering questions after the press event, federal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Ottawa will follow through with its commitment to legalize cannabis.
“I’m looking forward to the legalization of marijuana and putting in place a regulatory framework,” said Wilson-Raybould. “[I want to] hear from Canadians on how we can approach this issue and address the substantive justice objectives that we have in terms of my role with respect to the criminal code.”
Wilson-Raybould said there needs to be a focus on ensuring that Ottawa works with the City of Vancouver to hear about their experiences regulating cannabis sales.
“I’m pleased that people are starting to have conversations about how we can move forward with a regulatory framework,” said Wilson-Raybould. “Certainly we’re going to have to speak with the provinces and territories on this. That’s something that we’ll consider, certainly among many other suggestions.”