Canada announces legislation to legalize marijuana

Toni Houston
April 25, 2017

After long promising on the campaign trail to legalize recreational marijuana, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced plans to do so. The measure would make Canada the largest developed country to allow recreational marijuana, USA Today reported.

Eight states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, plus the District of Columbia, have voted to legalize and regulate cannabis for non-medical purposes.

If the Cannabis Act passes Parliament, Canada would become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to regulate a legal marijuana market.

The law was tabled on Thursday, and would allow adults over 18 to possess up to 30g of dried marijuana. Those looking to purchase pot will have to be at least 18 years of age and will only be allowed to carry about an ounce of marijuana at one time.

The set of laws would likely go into effect in Canada by June 2018, with a "strict legal framework" for cultivation and sale of marijuana, officials said. It will be left to Canadian provinces to decide how the drug will be distributed and sold.

The market action was likely a "sell the news" reaction as the legislation was largely in line with what an official task force recommended previous year, said Aaron Salz, founder of Stoic Advisory.

"The bills we propose today are aiming at putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business", said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

"Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and communities and we need a new approach", said Bill Blair, the government's point man on the issue and a former police chief.

A senior federal official told The Globe and Mail that the government has taken the opportunity to clean up all provisions in the Criminal Code dealing with impaired driving to remove a number of loopholes.

The Liberal government of Canada introduced legislation Thursday that would make it legal for adults o buy and grow marijuana for personal.

She said: "One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships".

Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould announces changes regarding the legalization of marijuana during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, April 13, 2017.

It's nothing short of a sea change in public policy, one with profound implications for everything from Canadian culture and health to border security, road safety and even worldwide relations: legalizing marijuana. "We are pleased to see the government moving towards laws that better reflect our society".

But the legislation seems built on the assumption that most users will be supplied by commercial growers, who will be licensed and closely supervised by the federal government.

Rob Pederson, a Realtor from Saskatchewan with the travel-advice company Canada to Arizona, said he believes the proposed laws could help his country and redirect drug profits into legal avenues.

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