Why will it take the federal government so long to make medicinal marijuana legal?

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – This week the federal government announced it would introduce a bill to legalize non-medicinal pot by next spring, but some are wondering why it’s going to take so long.

Following the announcement, Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the spot in the house.

“For more than three years they promised to legalize marijuana. They won’t even decriminalize something that could have been done overnight,” said Mulcair, and some critics agree with him.

The fact it’s going to take a year is nothing, according to Rielle Capler, a PhD candidate at UBC who adds the federal government could miss something if they ram it through during this session.

“They first need to have a piece of legislation that’s drafted that then has to go through Parliament to get passed. It’s not that they came into power and had that legislation drafted already.”

She feels critics should back off before they slam the feds. “I think what should be kept in mind is that to have a good piece of legislation — a year isn’t a long time for that. It is quite ambitious and impressive that they’re going for that.”

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott says the government’s plan will protect youth and enhance public safety while acknowledging the devastating consequences of drug use and drug related crime.

Ottawa also says the legislation will only be written up with input involving lower levels of government, Indigenous peoples, young people and scientists.

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