Quebec welcomes delayed timeline for legal marijuana

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is welcoming the delay in the federal government's marijuana legislation going into effect, saying it gives the province more time to prepare.

Federal government had initially set target date for legalization as July 1, 2018

The delay will help the province's law enforcement better prepare for a new reality, according to Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. (Evan Mitsui/CBCNews)

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is welcoming the delay for the legalization of recreational marijuana after the timeline was pushed back at the federal level earlier this week.

"It gives us more time to prepare," he said.

While the federal government had set July 1, 2018, as the target date for legalization, leaders in Senate reached a deal Thursday that postpones it until at least August.

Quebec has been urging Ottawa to give the provinces more time to prepare for regulating and selling legalized and recreational cannabis.

The delay will help the province's law enforcement better prepare for a new reality, according to Couillard.

Couillard said the postponement will help police officers get ready to deal with "issues surrounding traffic regulations, for training and for other things we want them to do as well."
The delay will help the province's law enforcement better prepare for what't to come, Couillard said. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Provincial bill still needs to pass

The Quebec government is still working to pass its recreational cannabis bill, which lays out details about how the sale and distribution of legal pot is to unfold in the province, into law.

Members of the National Assembly are still studying Bill 157, but the province has already started moving forward with some aspects in preparation for the summer, including striking tentative deals with six suppliers.

Couillard said he hopes the bill is passed into law before June 15, when the National Assembly breaks for summer.

"It would be unfortunate to leave the Assembly without adopting it because then we open the doors to literal anarchy and to products coming in from all over Canada without us being able to control what is happening," said Couillard.

With files from Radio-Canada and la Presse Canadienne