Canada introduces law to decriminalize marijuana

Frederick Owens
April 21, 2017

Canada could become the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.

The government said it will provide details on a new licensing fee and tax system in the coming months.

Indeed, there's plenty to look forward to with legalizing marijuana in Canada, and new companies will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get in on the action.

"We believe the contents of the bill were positive for the most part, as it pertains to licensed MMJ producers, he says".

"We know that criminal prohibition has failed", former-police-chief-turned-MP Bill Blair, who spearheaded the initiative, told a press conference.

If passed, the Cannabis Act would establish a legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada.

Since the intention of legalization is to stop criminalizing users, the government chose an age that would not force adults under 25 to turn to the illicit market.

"Additional regulations in the proposed law spell out strict criminal penalties for those caught driving under the influence of marijuana, steps Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said "[reflect] an evidence-based approach that will protect Canadians' public health and safety". An official panel recommended late a year ago that the government require plain packaging.While medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, consulting firm Deloitte has estimated annual sales of recreational marijuana could be as high as C$8.7 billion ($6.5 billion). In an effort to keep cannabis away from youth and its profits from criminals, it would also set the legal minimum age for purchasing pot at 18, according to federal officials. The provinces, though, could increase that age limit if they wanted to.

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

One leading marijuana activist said she doubts the new legislation will result in a full-fledged tourism industry springing up around pot in Canada. "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".

A February 2017 poll from NRG Research Group found that 57 percent of B.C. adults support marijuana legalization.

Under the federal government's proposal, the provinces must determine how the drug is bought and sold within their borders, how much the drug will cost the public and how old a customer must be to buy recreational marijuana.

But Larsen said there is no direct correlation between blood THC levels and whether or not you are impaired for driving.

The legislation would also authorize the use of new tools for law enforcement to better detect drivers who have drugs in their body. "In fact, mandatory roadside testing in many countries has significantly reduced the number of deaths on our highways".

The movement of cannabis and cannabis products across worldwide borders would remain a serious criminal offence. "Our system will actually be the better one". It will join an even longer list of US states and other countries relaxing laws, even if they are not outright repealing them.

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