Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Health Care | By Kelly Miles

Canada Introduces Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

Canadian lawmakers introduced federal legislation Thursday aimed at establishing a strict framework for the production, sale, distribution and possession of marijuana, following through on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise and putting his country on course to become the first nation in North America to legalize the recreational use of weed. Individuals would be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of recreational pot, similar to the one-ounce standard set in several US states with legal marijuana laws in effect, while households would be allowed to grow up to four plants.

The proposal, which the party hopes to make law by July of 2018, sets a minimum purchase age of 18, which is one year below the legal drinking age in most Canadian provinces and three years below the minimum age set in US states that have legalized recreational weed.

The federal government is steering Canada into a bold and risky social experiment with proposed new laws legalizing recreational marijuana for those aged 18 and older - and stringent new criminal sanctions for those who break them.

The Liberal government of Canada introduced legislation Thursday that would make it legal for adults o buy and grow marijuana for personal. In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

But a government-appointed task force has concluded that the "current science is not definitive on a safe age for cannabis use".

Between yesterday's introduction of the bill to legalize cannabis, and the 15 months it will take to pass it into law, some areas of the bill are likely to be modified at committee, while other areas will need to be fleshed out more fully - both in Ottawa and in the provinces and territories.

With an eye on cross-border legal issues, the new law will allow visitors to Canada to consume marijuana. The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver's blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal.

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The government of Canada published a press release today proposing a piece of legislation, the Cannabis Act, which would regulate the industry by July of 2018. Minister of Health Jane Philpott went on to say that there will be differences provincially. "I think last time we legalized a product that was not legal was the end of prohibition in the 1930s".

In January, Health Canada announced it would begin randomly testing marijuana growers for such chemicals as a way of policing them.

Also, penalties for possessing a bit more marijuana than allowed will be considerably less severe than before.

The legislation left the details of how the drug will be sold up to the provinces.

"Police forces spend between two and three billion dollars every year trying to deal with cannabis, yet Canadian teens are among the heaviest users in the Western world", said Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodell.

Mr. McConville said that when he brought his concerns to Health Canada, a senior government official in the Office of Medical Cannabis was unfamiliar with the names and uses of chemicals the department was supposed to be policing.

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

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