A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf on it flies during a 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 20, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Legal marijuana won’t hit shelves before August

Senators agree to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation

Canadians will have to wait until at least early August — and maybe as late as early September — to legally purchase recreational marijuana.

That’s the bottom line now that senators have struck a deal to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will usher in the legal cannabis regime.

Assuming Bill C-45 is passed by the Senate, royal assent would then follow immediately.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following royal assent to prepare for retail sales.

The Trudeau government had been aiming for legalization in July but the Senate timetable now means legal pot won’t be available for purchase until at least early August, and possibly not until a month later.

As part of the deal struck by Sen. Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate, with other Senate factions, initial debate on Bill C-45 will continue until March 22.

That’s three weeks beyond the deadline Harder announced earlier this week, when he threatened to move a motion to cut off second reading debate if senators didn’t agree voluntarily to end it by March 1.

However, the additional three weeks includes a two-week parliamentary break so, in reality, senators will get just an extra three days of debate.

RELATED: Legal marijuana on track for July but getting pot into stores could take longer

Nevertheless, the extra time was touted as a victory by Conservative senators, whom Harder had feared were intending to obstruct passage of the bill.

“I am pleased to say that we secured time that will allow the Senate to have a thorough evaluation on the marijuana legislation,” Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith said in a statement.

“The Official Opposition in the Senate has been clear from the beginning, we want to review the wide ranging concerns and voids in this legislation, instead of rushing this through only for the sake of a political deadline set by the Trudeau government.”

After second reading, the bill will be sent to five different Senate committees to examine different aspects of the legislation before returning to the Senate for a final debate and vote by June 7.

“This should give stakeholders, governments, business, law enforcement agencies and other Canadians a timeline for how and when the bill will be ultimately dealt with by the upper chamber,” Harder said in a statement.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Jayda Monilaws raises over $7,000 of cupcakes for Central Alberta Humane Society

This is the most the 10-year-old Red Deerian has raised so far

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read