Skip to main content

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Dec. 12, 2016.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ottawa is moving "properly and responsibly" to legalize marijuana but the current law governing cannabis will stand until new legislation is ratified, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Cannabis activists opened six shops in Montreal on Thursday in defiance of the current law and said they are considering opening another in Trudeau's riding in the city.

Longtime marijuana advocate Marc Emery said Trudeau would be as much of a criminal as them if they were arrested.

Story continues below advertisement

Trudeau's response to a question about that comment was as follows: "Until we've changed the law, the current laws exist and apply."

"The reason we are legalizing and controlling marijuana is not for any other reason than to better protect our kids and to remove the black market, the criminal elements, organized crime, from profiting massively from the sale of cannabis," he told a news conference alongside Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

"We will get this done properly and responsibly because that is what Canadians expect us to do. . and until we have changed the law, the current laws apply."

The pot boutiques opened in Montreal in the presence of two well-known marijuana activists from Vancouver behind the Cannabis Culture stores and brand.

Jodie Emery told a news conference at one of the stores that while they are illegal under current federal legislation, she hopes local authorities will leave them be.

Under store policy, anyone 19 and older will be able to buy marijuana, without membership or medical requirements. The shops will pay taxes, employ locals and won't allow children inside.

She was accompanied by her husband Marc, the self-styled "Prince of Pot" who was extradited in 2010 to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Story continues below advertisement

"Anyone who enforces this despicable law is indeed a despicable person — and I include politicians, elected officials, police authorities and anyone else who thinks we should be arrested," he said.

Ottawa is expected to table legislation in the spring to legalize marijuana, while a federal task force recommended earlier this week that sales be allowed to Canadians 18 years and older.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies