Calgary ready for legalized weed, says Nenshi as premiers consider asking for an extension

Manitoba's premier may not be ready for legal marijuana but Calgary's mayor says his city is.

'We can make it work, but it is a tight timeline,' mayor says of city's preparations for July 2018 target date

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says his city will be prepared for legalized marijuana but remains "at the whim" of the provincial and federal governments. (Left photo, Julie Debeljak/CBC, right photo, Ron Ward/Canadian Press)

Manitoba's premier may not be ready for legal marijuana but Calgary's mayor says his city is.

"We'll continue to make sure our bylaws are ready to go," Mayor Naheed Nenshi told CBC News. "We can make it work, but it is a tight timeline."

His comments come as provincial and territorial leaders gather in Edmonton for Council of the Federation meetings, where Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister plans to push his counterparts to demand the federal government delay legalization by a year.

Pallister has said many questions remain to be answered before such a "historic change" is adopted.

"I think that there are too many unaddressed issues that need to be paid attention to for us to hurry into something like this, [given] the magnitude of this," he said.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said his province would not object to an extension, noting there are challenges in creating standardized rules around labelling, road safety and age of access across the country in time.

The federal government brought forward legislation to legalize cannabis in the spring and has asserted it plans to pass it into law by July 2018.

It will be left up to provinces to administer systems for selling marijuana and to set minimum ages for buying it.

Nenshi said he expects Calgary will have its own municipal rules in place by this time next year, but the city remains at "at the whim of the federal and provincial governments" on the marijuana file.

"All of the pieces have to fall together," he said.

"And those can't happen until the federal and provincial laws are in place."