Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is ready to move on legalizing marijuana, but says he's not comfortable with it being sold at local corner stores.
"My focus is on making it more difficult for young people to access it, and at this point I don't think that corner stores necessarily are rigorous enough in checking ID to make me comfortable with that as an option," Trudeau told reporters in Quebec City on Wednesday.
"But we are looking at ways to do it right."
Earlier in the day Trudeau said during an interview with radio station FM93 Quebec that pot wouldn't "necessarily" have to be sold through a state-run monopoly.
Trudeau said legalization would make it tougher for minors to buy pot and would also keep the profits away from organized crime.
The Liberal leader insists that any plans for the sale and distribution of marijuana would have to involve the provinces, but he said that, if elected, a Liberal government could start taking action right away.
"That's something we look forward to taking up, but from the federal side of it, moving it to a place where it is controlled and regulated is something we will start doing immediately."
The Liberal campaign said it could not elaborate on precisely what actions would be taken initially.
Not Trudeau's focus
Trudeau fielded more than half a dozen questions from reporters about his pot policy Wednesday, but clearly doesn't want it to be a focal point during the election.
He suggested the Liberals don't have plans to roll out any marijuana-related policy during the campaign.
"We will continue to answer questions on this, but the policies we're putting forward are really focused on how we're going to grow the economy and give the kind of future to Canadians that they deserve."
Convenience store group 'disappointed'
Trudeau's remarks caught the notice of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. The organization issued a statement Thursday to say it has not advocated for the legalization of marijuana or the right to sell it, but was disappointed that Trudeau questioned its members' ability to sell age-restricted products.
"We are a partner to government and the gatekeepers that keep age-restricted products out of the hands of youth. This is a responsibility we take very seriously," the release said.