Canadian provinces may seek delay in recreational cannabis rollout

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Canada’s premiers said they will request more time to launch their recreational marijuana industries if the federal government doesn’t address several outstanding issues this year – including concerns over supply and the black market.

The move threatens to derail the timing of Canada’s plans to launch a recreational cannabis industry next summer, which could create challenges for businesses and entrepreneurs hoping to capitalize on the new market.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters immediately after the premiers released their statement Wednesday that the country will stick to its initial timeline.

The federal government also recently revealed it has a backup plan for provinces that fail to get cannabis regulations in place to meet the deadline.

Canada is leaving it up to each province and territory to determine key regulations that will have a major effect on cannabis businesses, including where marijuana can be purchased and consumed, how it is taxed and who can sell it.

Also on Wednesday, the provinces and territories established a working group to sift through a multitude of issues.

The panel will “identify common considerations and best practices to cannabis legalization and regulation, guided by the objectives of reducing harm, protecting public safety, and reducing illicit activity,” according to the premiers’ statement.

The working group will report back to the premiers in November.