Canada announces legislation to legalize recreational marijuana

Henrietta Brewer
April 18, 2017

At this point, there are 42 companies that have the necessary authorizations from Health Canada to produce marijuana for medical purposes across the country.

The bill does not include any information on how pot will be priced or taxed, as much of that will be left to the provinces.

But Goodale told reporters that Canada is hoping to convince the United States that the planned recreational marijuana regime in Canada "will better protect our kids and better stop the flow of illegal dollars to organized crime". However, the government has allowed the provinces to set a higher age limit if they wish to do so.

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 USA states that have legalized recreational weed. A household may grow up to four marijuana plants, but the primary supply will be through commercial growers, closely regulated by the authorities.

Now, new offences could be added to the Criminal Code under the Government's proposed legislation - including those for driving under the influence of drugs. Marijuana will not be sold in vending machines or other means of self-service.

Experts have predicted that after legalising marijuana, the industry would be worth C$5bn to C$7bn annually.

One of the biggest questions hanging over the Liberal government's legalization efforts has been whether people previously convicted of pot offences will get a clean slate once those same crimes are no longer on the books. "If there appears to be a pattern of examination at the border that just does not accord with appropriate, professional, reliable, consistent conduct, then obviously that's the sort of thing that we should raise at a governmental level to make sure people are treated appropriately".

Others worry that legalisation will put Canada on a collision path with Donald Trump's administration south of the border.

Canada and Uruguay would be the only nations to completely legalize recreational pot.

Canadian officials were in close touch with their American counterparts as they drafted the proposed law, Ralph Goodale, Canada's public safety minister, said on Thursday.

Almost 400,000 people a day cross the border between Canada and the US.

"Our system will actually be better", he said. "We're going to change that", according to a tweet from his official account. "Police forces spend between $2bn and $3bn every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world".

While medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, consulting firm Deloitte has estimated annual sales of recreational marijuana could be as high as $6.5 billion. '... those laws must continue to be respected and upheld right across the country.

"This must be an orderly transition and not a free-for-all". "It is a not a free-for-all".

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