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Don't 'jump to conclusions' on pot timing, federal public safety minister says

Medical marijuana is shown in Toronto, Nov. 5, 2017. Ontario landlords want the right to immediately ban the use of pot in rental properties when recreational weed is legalized this summer, arguing they should be allowed to change tenants' existing leases to stop the drug from being consumed in their units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

OTTAWA — The federal public safety minister says people shouldn’t jump to conclusions about when they’ll be able to buy marijuana legally, as a key federal bill makes its way through Parliament.

Ralph Goodale says there will be an implementation phase that takes a “short period of time” after passage of the bill legalizing recreational marijuana use.

But he isn’t saying whether that means people will be able to legally smoke pot as of July, as many have come to expect.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said this week that provinces and territories have indicated once the federal bill receives royal assent, they’ll need another eight to 12 weeks to prepare for retail sales.

The Liberals say the current system of prohibition does not stop young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of pot.

But the legislation is just one element of the plan, and the federal and provincial governments are sorting out myriad questions about the availability and sale of pot, as well as allocating resources to implement the new regime.

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