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Since a July 1 deadline to start withdrawing from international narcotics treaties has passed, the federal government is left with fewer, and much more awkward, ways of legalizing marijuana by July of 2018 without breaking international law, an expert says.

“The government still does have some options,” says Steven Hoffman, a professor at York University in Toronto who specializes in global health law. “Those options are not all great, but they are still options.”

Canada has signed three UN drug treaties, one dating from 1961, pledging to ban marijuana (along with other drugs). We can leave the treaties after a notice period, but legalizing recreational marijuana by next July, as the Liberals have promised, would have required giving the UN notice by Canada Day, which is now nearly three weeks ago.

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