A frustrated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants police to “enforce the law” and criminally charge illegal marijuana dispensaries — even though weed legalization is looming.
“People are right now breaking the law,” Trudeau told the Star’s editorial board on Friday.
“We haven’t changed the laws. We haven’t legalized it yet. Yes, we got a clear mandate to do that. We’ve said we will. We’ve said we’re going to do it to protect our kids and to keep the money out of the pockets of criminals.”
But the spread of storefront “dispensaries” — scores of which have popped up on Toronto streets this year — is clearly a concern to the prime minister.
“It’s a situation that is frustrating and I can understand people’s frustration on this,” Trudeau said.
“The promise we made around legalizing marijuana was done for two reasons … that I was very, very clear about: one, to better protect our kids from the easy access they have right now to marijuana; and, two, to remove the criminal elements that were profiting from marijuana,” he said.
“We believe that a properly regulated, controlled system will achieve both of those measures. But we haven’t brought in that properly regulated, controlled system because it’s important that we do it right in order to achieve those two specific goals.”
That new regime will be unveiled next spring. The blueprint for the legislation is a report by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan’s task force of medical and legal experts, which be released within days.
Until the new law is enacted some time in 2017, Trudeau stressed “the current prohibition stands.”
Government lawyers are calling on the Federal Court to dismiss a complaint seeking to force Ottawa to pay public servants on time while it sorts out its troubled payroll system.
The request is part of the government’s response to a legal action launched by several unions over the Phoenix payroll fiasco.
In June, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, along with a dozen other unions, teamed up to file the complaint in the hope of getting financial relief for its members.
More than 80,000 public servants have been underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all since the government implemented its new Phoenix payroll program.
In the government’s Nov. 28 court filing, which was seen by CBC News, lawyers for the Treasury Board argue that an order to force the government to pay its employees on time is not necessary because Ottawa is already working to fix the situation.