A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf on it flies during a 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 20, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Legal marijuana won’t hit shelves before August

Senators agree to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation

Canadians will have to wait until at least early August — and maybe as late as early September — to legally purchase recreational marijuana.

That’s the bottom line now that senators have struck a deal to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will usher in the legal cannabis regime.

Assuming Bill C-45 is passed by the Senate, royal assent would then follow immediately.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following royal assent to prepare for retail sales.

The Trudeau government had been aiming for legalization in July but the Senate timetable now means legal pot won’t be available for purchase until at least early August, and possibly not until a month later.

As part of the deal struck by Sen. Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate, with other Senate factions, initial debate on Bill C-45 will continue until March 22.

That’s three weeks beyond the deadline Harder announced earlier this week, when he threatened to move a motion to cut off second reading debate if senators didn’t agree voluntarily to end it by March 1.

However, the additional three weeks includes a two-week parliamentary break so, in reality, senators will get just an extra three days of debate.

RELATED: Legal marijuana on track for July but getting pot into stores could take longer

Nevertheless, the extra time was touted as a victory by Conservative senators, whom Harder had feared were intending to obstruct passage of the bill.

“I am pleased to say that we secured time that will allow the Senate to have a thorough evaluation on the marijuana legislation,” Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith said in a statement.

“The Official Opposition in the Senate has been clear from the beginning, we want to review the wide ranging concerns and voids in this legislation, instead of rushing this through only for the sake of a political deadline set by the Trudeau government.”

After second reading, the bill will be sent to five different Senate committees to examine different aspects of the legislation before returning to the Senate for a final debate and vote by June 7.

“This should give stakeholders, governments, business, law enforcement agencies and other Canadians a timeline for how and when the bill will be ultimately dealt with by the upper chamber,” Harder said in a statement.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Stolen kayak tops Comox Valley RCMP report

Comox Valley RCMP report week of Sept. 18-2

Sarah Rebitt named the Vanier recipient of the Governor General’s Award

Sarah Rebitt was named the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Award… Continue reading

Dead motorcyclist was member of Facebook group that raced on Mount Washington road

Some group members record their rides and post times to page

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dead following crash on Strathcona Parkway

A 29 year old man has died following a motorcycle crash on… Continue reading

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Sept. 25, 2018… Continue reading

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read