Rec cannabis timeline concerns Canada’s provincial leaders

Canadian provincial leaders are raising questions over whether they will be ready when Canada’s recreational marijuana market is set to go online in July 2018.

That could slow the adult-use industry’s rollout across Canada, making it more difficult for entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on the federal government’s legalization program.

Under legalization legislation introduced Thursday, the federal government would be responsible for regulating rec cultivation while the provinces would oversee distribution and sales.

Some provincial leaders, however, said it will be hard to decide on and implement a distribution and sales scheme under the federal government’s proposed timeline.

Premier Rachel Notley of Alberta said meeting the July 2018 target launch will be tough, while her attorney general called the time frame “definitely ambitious,” the Toronto Star reported.

“It may be simple to say, ‘Yeah, let’s legalize marijuana,’” Notley said. “Administering it is actually very complex.”

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi agreed, saying there is a “lot of work ahead,” according to the Star.

Other observers, however, said the incentive of tax revenue would motivate provincial leaders to establish their distribution systems.