Health Canada: “No Changes” to Ottawa’s Marijuana Policy Following Sessions Move

Health Canada: “No Changes” To Ottawa’s Marijuana Policy Following Sessions Move
A man smokes marijuana during an annual 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, April 20, 2016. (Image via Reuters)

A Health Canada official said on Wednesday that Ottawa will stick to its imminent policy on marijuana legalization despite what is happening in the United States.  

Last week, the U.S. General Attorney Jeff Sessions made headlines when he annulled an Obama-era policy that allowed states to operate legal marijuana without any federal intervention. Federally, the U.S. government considers marijuana an illegal drug.

“I think the Prime Minister [Justin Trudeau] made it clear that there are no changes,” Health Canada director of communications Yves-Alexandre Comeau told The Suburban in a phone interview.

Bill C-45 also known as the Cannabis Act is currently in the Senate.

Comeau reiterated that the bill remains on track to become law in “the month of July”.

Currently, Canada is conducting a national campaign to counter drug-impaired driving.

“Our focus is on public education,” Comeau said. “By the end of February or early March, we’ll be launching a public health awareness campaign, to ensure that people are aware of the risks of using cannabis. But in terms of the legislation date, there are no changes following [Attorney General Sessions’] announcements today.”

Canopy has transformed Smiths Falls economy, making it the pot capital in Canada
Master Grower Ryan Douglas waters marijuana plants in a growing room at Tweed Marijuana Inc in Smith’s Falls, Ontario, Canada on February 20, 2014. (File image via Reuters)

Canada in Talks With U.S.

Meanwhile, Canada’s federal Public Safety Minister Goodale is in talks with the American side to address any potential sensitivities to the draft legislation.

“Exporting and importing cannabis is illegal today and will remain illegal after under this law,” Goodale’s press secretary Scott Bartley told The Suburban.

“Since the bill was introduced, we’ve kept in very close touch with the United States about the legalization of cannabis, as we do about all cross-border issues.”

“What we do expect of our American counterparts, just as they expect from us, is that when people present themselves at the border that their experience is respectful, that it’s consistent, that it’s professional and that people are not treated in any kind of arbitrary way,” he said in a telephone interview. 

He added: “And if they are, there are ways that they can file formal complaints with respect to their treatment if it is not in accordance with the law.”

In the U.S., more politicians are criticizing Sessions for what they describe as “war on liberty.”

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