Canada Moves To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Marijuana legislation

The federal government set the minimum age at 18, but will allow each province to determine if it should be higher.

Canada has permitted medical use of cannabis since 2001 and has a thriving industry of licensed marijuana suppliers who have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the recreational market.

The press release says the legislation would set up a regulatory framework "for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada".

The more than 80 recommendations included maintaining a separate medical marijuana regime, as well as criminal penalties for trafficking and selling cannabis to youth.

Blair said at the news conference in Ottawa that "criminal prohibition has failed" and that 21 percent of youth, and 30 percent of young adults, use cannabis in Canada. The New Democrats have called for its immediate legalization in order to end drug prosecutions they say are causing undue harm and wasting police resources.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has asked the government to ensure legislation does not allow people to grow the drug at home, saying it would put too much of a burden on law enforcement officials.

"The Liberals said their intent is to restrict and limit access to marijuana and introduce tougher penalties, to not normalize the use of it and not promote it with any packaging or advertising", said Jodie Emery, a long-time advocate for legalization.

"The timing of the legislation, if it indeed comes next week, would provide a dramatically different context for 4/20, the annual April 20 celebration of pot culture that culminates in a massive â€" and decidedly hazy â€" gathering on Parliament Hill. 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.

"While the Canadian government is moving in the direction of legalization and regulation, the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem more intent on reviving outdated and erroneous Drug War rhetoric than allowing science and facts to dictate public policy", Altieri said in a statement.

Shares of marijuana producers were trading lower following the announcement, though the stocks have seen a run-up in anticipation of legalization.Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) fell 3.8 percent to C$9.92, though the stock has more than tripled in the previous year. If successful, Canada and Uruguay would be the only countries to completely legalize recreational pot as a consumer product across their nations.

Bringing marijuana across borders would remain a serious criminal offense - especially as marijuana laws differ depending on countries.

Goodale said they've been close touch with the US government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal. The federal government will oversee packaging and labelling. "This needs to be an orderly transition", he said.



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