Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Activist Ray Turmel holds a bag of medical marijuana and smokes a joint as he calls for the total legalization of marijuana in Toronto last year. Canada's Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in spring 2017, Health Minister Jane Philpott said on Wednesday.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

Now that Health Minister Jane Philpott has announced that the Liberal government will introduce legislation next spring to legalize and regulate marijuana, we have a question: What happens until then?

Under Canadian law, a person can be arrested and charged with a criminal offence for possessing a small amount of pot. It is also a serious crime to traffic in marijuana, or to grow it for the purpose of trafficking it.

And yet a person could leave the offices of The Globe and Mail, walk a few blocks, enter a well-marked storefront and purchase some lovingly displayed marijuana for their personal consumption. No need to have a marijuana prescription from a doctor; just tell the proprietor you have a prescription for an anxiety medication, or a sleeping pill, or suffer from any disorder that marijuana is reputed to be beneficial in the treatment thereof, and you'll be puffing away on Spadina Avenue a few minutes later.

Story continues below advertisement

This weird state of affairs wasn't created by the Liberal government. Pot-law enforcement has been operating in a grey zone for years. The Health Canada regulations allowing people to possess, consume and grow marijuana for medical purposes have been on the books since 2001. The public acceptance of pot has grown dramatically since then. Even the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has called for slacker laws that would allow officers to ticket offenders rather than arrest and charge them with a criminal offence.

But with the election of the Liberals and their explicit promise to legalize pot, the grey zone has become even more nebulous. The laws against the possession and sale of pot have seemingly been washed away, and few in authority appear concerned about it.

This cries out for clarity. A new poll shows that 70 per cent of Canadians are in favour of legalization. But those same Canadians are probably not enamoured of the idea that this country's laws can be cavalierly ignored in the interim before the pot law is changed.

We need a statement from the government on what it expects to happen in this limbo period. Should police crack down, or should they continue to let the laws slide? If so, what is the purpose of having laws if they are not enforced? Good questions, for which the Liberals do not seem to have any answers.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
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 ...

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