Canada's Government Introduces Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Francis Osborne
April 25, 2017

The government said the legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, should be in force no later than July 2018.

The bill, inspired in part by the experiences of cannabis regimes in Colorado and Washington state, goes well beyond the us situation, where marijuana remains prohibited at the federal level.

"Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and our communities", said Bill Blair, a lawmaker and former Toronto police chief involved in the legislative process for the legalization bill.

The government will allow the citizens to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use. And access would be restricted to adults 18 years and older. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, at Thursday's news conference, was asked by numerous reporters about potential problems at the border, and whether Canadians traveling to the U.S.

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The legislation aims to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, a change that would have a profound impact on the nascent cannabis industry, which to this point has been limited to the medical sector.

Trudeau himself admitted in 2013 to having smoked pot five or six times in his life, including at a dinner party with friends since being elected to parliament.

The news has been welcomed by many legalization campaigners who argue that prohibition of marijuana does not deter users, but funnels money to criminals, and results in too many Canadians ending up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of pot.

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While numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation have been introduced in Congress to address some of those issues or even legalize marijuana completely, leaders in both parties have generally been wary of letting such provisions proceed.

The government said it will provide details on a new licensing fee and tax system in the coming months.

A frontrunner for the leadership of the Tories, Kellie Leitch, meanwhile, said she would repeal the bill and reinstate the ban, if elected.

Though some find the bill drastic, a government news release promises a "strict legal framework for the production, sale, distribution and possession of marijuana". He said the legislation introduced Thursday is expected to become law by the end of June when distribution and pricing arrangements are in place. "This needs to be an orderly transition", he said.

Public health experts have mostly backed a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, according to a government-backed panel.

The RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency plan to work together, along with local police, to uphold laws governing illegal cross-border movement of cannabis. “Criminals pocket 7 to 8 billion dollars in proceeds.”.

The federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of Canada's provinces to determine if it should be higher.

Health Minister Jane Philpott also said that the government has earmarked almost Can$10 million to educate Canadians about known risks of pot use.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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