Saying it’s not an “event,” but rather a “process,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government still plans to legalize cannabis for recreational use by this summer.
His comments come a day after a Senate committee report was released, which called for legalization to be delayed by one year, over concerns that adequate consultation with various First Nations groups across the country hasn’t taken place.
Trudeau refuted that claim however, telling reporters at a press conference on Thursday that his government has been”working with our partners across the country on making this happen and we are going to moving forward this summer on the legalization of cannabis.”
He added that conversation around legalization has been taking place since “well before we formed government.”
Known as Bill-C45, the legalization bill by the Trudeau government was brought to the Senate for the vote on a second reading near the end of March.
It was passed by a vote of 44 in favour and 29 people opposed.
However, citing a lack of “meaningful consultation” with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, the Senate committee report asked the Canadian government to delay cannabis legalization for another year.
“Many Indigenous communities and organizations informed the Committee that they were
not consulted on the subject matter of the bill,” the report read.
It also expressed concerns around the legal language of the bill and noted some people may not yet fully comprehend the legalities attached to it.
“We will continue to work with our partners… to ensure that we are getting this right and moving forward in a responsible way, that supports all the partners as we move forward on this,” said Trudeau on Thursday. “This is a public health and public safety issue that we committed to in the election campaign and that we will be moving forward with, this summer.”