The Liberal government’s new pot legislation is premature and half-baked. But things could be worse — it could be doing nothing at all.
The bill, introduced in the House of Commons Thursday, will hasten an end to 94 years of failed prohibition.
Its introduction became inevitable after the new leader of the then-third party blurted out the commitment at a rally in British Columbia four years ago. It’s doubtful even Justin Trudeau understood the consequences of his pledge. By such caprice is history made.
There were no great surprises in the legislation itself. It leans heavily on last December’s report from the task force charged with drawing up the framework for cannabis legislation.
What was more apparent was how much detail has still to be resolved — from taxation to distribution, from packaging to legal driving limits.
The government says that, provided the bill makes its way through Parliament, it intends to provide regulated and restricted cannabis no later than July 2018.
Bill Blair, the parliamentary secretary for justice who has been stickhandling the pot project, called the timeline “highly aspirational” when I interviewed him late last month. But they’ll have to cross that bridge when they drive off it.
In the meantime, we have a bill that is long overdue in a country where illegal cannabis production is a $7 billion industry and impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury.
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