Bills to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Introduced in Canada

shutterstock 231524524
shutterstock 231524524

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made marijuana legalization a cornerstone of his successful 2015 campaign. Today, the Liberal Party in Canada proposed bills that would set up the regulatory framework for recreational marijuana sales.

Sales of recreational marijuana are expected to begin in July of 2018. Residents 18 and older will be eligible to purchase it. Provinces will have the option of raising the minimum purchase age if they choose.

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According to supporters of the reform efforts within the Canadian government, public safety is actually a driving force behind legalization.

“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference.

Goodale is also concerned with the high cost of prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

“Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world … we simply have to do better.”

According to the Toronto Sun, here are the highlights from Thursday’s marijuana legalization bills:

  • Possession, production, and distribution outside the legal system would remain illegal, as would imports or exports without a federal permit. Such permits will cover only limited purposes, such as medical or scientific cannabis and industrial hemp.
  • Adults aged 18 and older would also be allowed to produce legal cannabis products, such as food or drinks, for personal use at home.
  • Sales by mail or courier through a federally licensed producer would be allowed in provinces that lack a regulated retail system.
  • Sales to be restricted to people age 18 and older, although provinces would have the jurisdiction to increase their own minimum age.
  • Adults 18 and older would be allowed to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form.
  • Adults aged 18 and older would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants for each residence, with plants not to exceed one meter in height.
  • At first, sales will entail only fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds and plants for cultivation. Sales of edibles will come later, once regulations for production and sale can be developed.
  • Travelers entering Canada would still be subject to inspections for prohibited goods, including cannabis.
  • The existing program for access to medical marijuana would continue as it currently exists.

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