Canada introduces legislation to legalize marijuana

Judith QuinnApr 22, 2017

The rules unveiled Thursday allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and grow up to four plants in a particular home.

The Canadian government has taken steps to legalize recreational marijuana as part of a larger effort to decriminalize cannabis and "make Canada safer", Bill Blair, a former police chief shaping the legislation, said.

Officials have said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018. Those under 18 found with less than five grams of marijuana would not face criminal charges but those who sell it or give to youth could face up to 14 years in jail.

The Liberal government introduced long-awaited legislation Thursday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but numerous finer points and logistical questions remain unanswered or up in the air. In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

But Canadian provinces, tasked with the responsibility of regulating marijuana sales, are already scrambling to develop their plans under the potential law.

Those who are under the influence of marijuana, he said, are still drastically less impaired than they would be under the effect of legal quantities of alcohol.

It would allow police to test people's saliva if they think a driver has been using marijuana.

The plan is to have a legalized-pot system in place by the end of June 2018, he added.

"It's gonna become more available for everyone, and there's definitely going to be more shops opening up", Panjwani said.

Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel had a bit of fun Thursday night with the news that the Canadian government has introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Cannabis Act proposes only those over 18 years of age can buy cannabis but provinces and territories could increase it.

In the United States, seven states allow recreational use of marijuana.

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. "The federal government has indicated that they consider this a priority and the CMA will insist on effective public health education and measures to minimize the negative impact on youth and all Canadians". Goodale said Canadian tourists "should never lie" to border guards and suggested he had raised the issue with US officials.

The proposed Cannabis Act would make it illegal to sell marijuana packaged or labelled in a way that could be construed as appealing to young people, to include testimonials or endorsements, or to depict a person, character or animal.

"The bills we propose today are aiming at putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business", said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria Inc., said he was hoping for greater clarity when the highly anticipated Cannabis Act was introduced Thursday.

Since the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals have couched their push to legalize pot in a counterintuitive message: that it is the single best way to keep the drug out of the hands of impressionable and still-developing children.

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