Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Canadian lawmakers call for legalizing recreational marijuana

Canada is on track to legalize recreational marijuana by next year after the government put forward legislation on Thursday that will see it regulate production.

Canada has taken a major step toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

'The only control that is now in place is the criminal sanction and the laws, ' he said, according to CBC News.

"In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes". "We're going to change that", Trudeau said.

"Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and our communities", said Bill Blair, a lawmaker and former Toronto police chief involved in the legislative process for the legalization bill.

On Thursday, the government released a plan to "legalize [and] strictly regulate" marijuana. 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.

Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (left) speaks during a news conference with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (center) and Health Minister Jane Philpott in Ottawa, Canada, April 13, 2017.

Producing or distributing marijuana outside the government regulation would be considered serious offenses, officials said. That panel's report noted public health experts tend to favor a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.

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Goodale said that Canadian officials have been in close touch with the US government on the proposed law, and emphasized that exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal.

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 proposed legislation would allow the federal government to license producers, but provinces would be in charge of regulating consumer sale.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and is grown by 42 federally licensed producers.

Teens and minors under the age of 18, would be prohibited from having or buying marijuana. The minimum legal age would be 18, though provinces would be able to raise that. "It's not an absolute guarantee that kids won't get access to it, but it will be far more hard for kids to get access to it when this new regime is in place than it is today".

Ottawa won't be alone in implementing a national legalized marijuana regime.

"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", Goodale said. But illegal sales or giving it to minors would carry penalties up to 14 years in jail.

The new law would make it illegal to sell or market cannabis to youth or use a young person to commit a cannabis-related crime, and will impose new penalties for these offences.

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