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

Tom Pyper’s life on the South Saskatchewan Pipeline

Red Deer man looks back on his time working on the Cantuar pump station

Central Alberta Theatre is gearing up to present Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s)

Opening night is April 20th with shows running through to May 5th.

Burman U prof publishes international development book

The Development Trap: How Thinking Big Fails the Poor looks to challenge perceptions

WATCH: Check out this week’s What’s Up Wednesday

A weekly recap of the week in news

WATCH: Red Deerian receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

WATCH: Red Deer’s latest ‘Ghost’ statue unveiled at Servus Arena

‘The Face-off’ is the 11th ‘Ghost’ in the notable bronze series

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Most Read