Marijuana Legalization 2017: Canada's Justin Trudeau Introduces Bill To Legalize Recreational Pot

Ellen Mills
April 25, 2017

Such use is already allowed in the U.S. states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska as well as California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada.

He has also said that his late brother Michel was facing marijuana possession charges for a "tiny amount" of pot before his death in an avalanche in 1998, and that this influenced his decision to propose legalizing cannabis. The four new recreational states, which grant cannabis freedom to adults 21 and older, joined Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Washington, D.C., and OR in ending decades of the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

Trudeau has repeatedly said, as he did in Parliament this week, that it is easier for a teenager to buy a marijuana cigarette than a bottle of beer, "and that is not right".

"As the bill moves through the legislative process, existing laws prohibiting possession and use of cannabis remain in place, and they need to be respected", he said.

The Canadian government will continue to consult on legalization proposals, but plans to make cannabis legally available across the country before July 1, 2018.

Approval of the legislation is probably months away; once it makes its way through parliamentary committees, the federal government will have to negotiate the bills with the country's senate and provinces. However, Canada's provinces and territories, which under the constitution have regulatory powers, can set a higher legal age. The provinces also will decide how the drug will be sold and distributed. It didn't set a price or announce what, if any, federal tax would be levied.

The Canadian government closely followed the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan.

Health groups expressed concern about the potential impact of marijuana on developing brains under the age of 25. That mention of keeping cannabis out of reach of the Canadian youth is heavily emphasized in the press release as well.

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.

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".

CEO Vic Neufeld says the legislation introduced today is a good beginning, but leaves a lot of blanks to be filled, like more explanation as to allowed marketing and related practices.

Shares of marijuana producers were trading lower following the announcement, though the stocks have seen a run-up in anticipation of legalization. "The more you use and the younger you start, you have up to four times the risk of developing some kind of psychotic illness".

Blair said at the news conference in Ottawa that "criminal prohibition has failed" and that 21 percent of youth, and 30 percent of young adults, use cannabis in Canada.

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