Canada’s federal government has announced a plan that would permit adults to obtain cannabis products through the mail if their province has not yet established a regulated retail regime by the time the government begins allowing legal sales, according to a Globe and Mail report.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that while the government is still pushing for a July, 2018 start date for legal sales, it was important that they have a “backstop” in the event that some provinces are not ready to go.
“We’ll be able to be the backstop in terms of how we actually distribute marijuana if they’re not able to get there on time,” he said in the report. “So we have an agenda. We have a timeline and we have a backup plan.”
The move comes after some provincial leaders voiced concerns over how cannabis products will be taxed and controlled. Morneau said that finance ministers have come to an agreement on general principles, including keeping the tax rates low to combat the illicit market.
Joe Ceci, Alberta finance minister, said that the province will be ready by the July 2018 start date, indicating that officials are working as quickly as possible to make sure they are prepared.
“Without a provincial sales tax, we need to ensure that we receive adequate monies to address the cost of having cannabis available for distribution and sale in our province,” he said.
A federal task force on cannabis legalization has recommended that taxes be based on product potency. A more detailed plan on the tax-and-regulate scheme is expected in December.