In an interview in Edmonton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked again about his plans for cannabis legalization in the country.
Trudeau would only say that he will get input from all provinces before going ahead with any changes and that an announcement will be made “in the not too distant future.”
“When you go to regulate cigarettes or alcohol or things like that, working with the provinces is essential,” Trudeau said. “I see no difference with marijuana on that, and I look forward to a variety of perspectives and engagements by provincial governments.”
The comments come after last week’s announcement from the Ministry of Health that the government would not appeal the Allarddecision which stated that the Liberals have half a year to create a new framework for medical cannabis which allows patients to produce their own medicine.
The government’s press release also included mention of their plans to legalize.
“In the near future, a task force will be established that will consult broadly with experts in public health, substance abuse and law enforcement in order to examine and report on all of the issues related to legalization,” the release said.
When asked if the consultation process would also include members of the cannabis community and industry, despite not being mentioned, Department of Justice senior media relations advisor Ian McLeod said nothing has yet been decided.
“A task force will be mandated to examine issues related to the legalization and regulation of marijuana and engage with provinces and territories as well as key stakeholders and other Canadians regarding the design of a new system of strict marijuana production, distribution and sales,” said McLeod, in an email. “Further detail about the task force will be made available in due course.”
McLeod said the government is looking at designing a system of strict production, distribution and sales of marijuana, in order to protect health and enhance public safety.
“The legalization and strict regulation of marijuana is a serious, complex matter that will take time,” McLeod said. “There are real public health and safety risks associated with marijuana use.”
Trudeau said he’s never been much of a “substance taker” and he doesn’t expect that to change when legalization goes through.
“It’s the responsible thing to do, to respect people’s choices,” he said, on pushing legalization forward.