Canada Marijuana Legalization Plan Released, Would Legalize for Those 18+

Two new bills tabled in the House of Commons Thursday include one to regulate recreational use, sale and cultivation of marijuana and a second that toughens offences.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that any revenues from the taxation of marijuana should be directed to addiction treatment, mental health services and public health education - initiatives Goodale said would be a key priority.

If authorized as planned, proponents say the bill will be a blessing for the almost one-third of young adults in Canada who admit smoking weed and subsequently risk arrest in the face the federal government's current prohibition.

Trafficking outside the new regime would continue to be illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, as would selling cannabis to youths, driving under its influence, and importing or exporting pot.

However, marijuana will remain illegal until the new law is approved and goes into effect.

Canada's proposed legislation follows success at USA ballot boxes a year ago in several states, including recreational marijuana laws in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California.

The plan calls for a legalized-pot system in place by the end of June 2018. Details still need to be worked out, the government said, including how cannabis will be taxed and how Canada's provinces will regulate the retail network in which the product will be sold.

Adults would be able to have up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public and be permitted to grow up to four plants per household.

The legislation proposes to allow storefront sales of pot, to retain a separate medical marijuana system and create tougher driving laws for drugs and alcohol, the Toronto Star reported.

Legal marijuana in Canada, one of the U.S.s strongest allies, could be a game-changer for domestic marijuana policy discussions in the states. 18 is also the legal age for alcohol consumption in much of Canada (with it being 19 in other parts).

Police would be able to demand a saliva sample if they have "reasonable suspicion" a driver has drugs in their body; a positive test result would then help officers identify "reasonable grounds" to demand a blood sample or further drug evaluation.

The marijuana task force had recommended plain packaging - devoid of any real branding - that would list only the name of the company, the strain of cannabis, the price, the levels of THC and CBD and warnings. "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 ..." If successful, Canada and Uruguay would be the only countries to completely legalize recreational pot as a consumer product across their nations.

Opposition reaction Thursday ran the gamut: the Conservatives shook their heads at what they are convinced is a bad idea, while the New Democrats wondered what took so long. Adults would be allowed to produce legal cannabis products such as food or drinks, for personal use at home.



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