Marijuana legalization in Canada may take longer than expected

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Although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government signaled it would legalize recreational marijuana this spring, it looks as if actual implementation may take a bit longer.

A bill to formally legalize marijuana in Canada is still expected in the near future, Bloomberg reported, but the government will “take its time” with specific regulations that will allow the rec industry to get up and running, according to a lawmaker who’s spearheading Trudeau’s legalization bid.

“We will take as much time as it takes to get it right,” Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the Canadian justice minister, told Bloomberg. “I’m pretty reluctant to suggest a specific time frame, frankly, because I don’t know how long this will take in each of our 10 provinces and three territories.”

He pointed out several areas on which the government is focusing, including how to regulate production, testing, distribution and consumption, Bloomberg reported.

Blair declined to say whether the new adult-use system will be ready by next year or if work on it may stretch into 2019.

The shares of Canadian cannabis companies fell after Blair’s comments. Late Tuesday afternoon, Canopy Growth was down more than 7%, Aphria was off nearly 5%, and Aurora Cannabis was 7% lower.