Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is not ruling out a legal challenge as the federal government’s cannabis bill allowing Canadians to grow recreational marijuana at home is one step closer to becoming law.
“We will affirm our jurisdiction if it needs to be taken to court, which I find regrettable,” he said.
“I find the senate had a good solution to allow provinces to decide on their own — not on the criminal code aspect which is federal — but on distribution and the way we manage the product in Quebec.”
In Ottawa, senators backed down Tuesday night on an amendment to the federal government’s Bill C-45, which would have recognized the authority of provincial governments to ban home cultivation if they choose.
The Trudeau government rejected that amendment and senators voted 45-35 against insisting on it, paving the way for the long-awaited cannabis bill to pass into Canadian law.
Quebec’s own law, which was adopted last week, outlines the framework for who can purchase cannabis, where it can be used and how it can be sold once marijuana is legal in Canada.
While the federal government plans to allow four pot plants per household, Quebec will not permit residents to grow marijuana at home.
The province’s decision to ban home-grown weed is one that Quebecers are behind, according to Couillard.
“I will have wished that the federal parliament at the end agreed with us on that if they don’t we will affirm our jurisdiction. Eventually, if we need to defend it in court we will do so.”
Cannabis is not yet legal in Canada and is not expected to be until late August or early September. Provinces and municipalities have also been promised eight to 12 weeks to deliver final preparations.
READ MORE: Quebec adopts long-awaited cannabis law
—with files from Global’s Monique Scotti and the Canadian Press