As the clock ticked down towards cannabis legalization, Conservatives have been the fiercest critics of the government’s approach.
But as Canadians marked the first legal sales of marijuana on Oct. 17, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer hinted his party will not seek to shut down the fledgling multi-billion-dollar market if elected next fall.
At the same time, he said there remained flaws with the current system.
“We’re going to propose changes to the regime based on the feedback we see,” Scheer said when asked specifically if he would reverse legalization.
Scheer has previously stressed that the party needed to be “realistic” about how it approached the issue of cannabis legalization.
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In an interview with Global News’ The West Block in 2017, he said dismantling the system after it becomes legal would not be an easy task.
“So we have to be very realistic as a party as to what we’re promising Canadians going into the 2019 election,” he said.
“If this is something that has been legal for a period of time, it’s going to be very difficult to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to make this illegal again.’”
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Conservative MP Michael Cooper, who is one of the party’s justice critics, also said earlier in the day the focus shouldn’t be on whether to reverse legalization.
Instead, it should be on identifying how to make the system work better.
“Now that legalization is here, it’s here to stay,” he said.
“It’s not a matter of rolling back legalization. It’s a matter of ‘How do we fix some of the gaps?'”
The value of the legal cannabis market is predicted to hit $6.5 billion by 2020.
It is also expected to create about 120,000 jobs in Canada after its first year.
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