Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Canada's Government Introduces Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Melinda Barton | 19 April, 2017, 06:59

Will Canada be known for another kind of leaf - other than its iconic maple?

On Thursday, the government released a plan to "legalize [and] strictly regulate" marijuana. The Globe and Mail wrote that the federal government will need additional staff and resources to "speed up the approval process" for new producers looking to come online.

"It's too easy for our kids to get marijuana".

Aphria chief executive Vic Neufeld said the legislation is a good beginning, but leaves a lot of blanks to be filled, such as more explanation on permitted marketing and related practices.

After acquiring Royal Assent, the proposed act would allow adults to legally possess and use cannabis. Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Public Safety would be responsible for enforcing the regulations.

But Canadian provinces, tasked with the responsibility of regulating marijuana sales, are already scrambling to develop their plans under the potential law. Provinces would be able to set higher age limits if they so choose.

But many issues remain for government officials to figure out, including how much to charge for marijuana, reported CNN's partner CBC.

Each of Canada's provinces will need to decide exactly how the drug will be distributed and sold within its boundaries. "It is not a free for all", he said during a news conference after the bills were tabled. It would set the minimum age to purchase cannabis at 18, but provinces can increase that minimum age how they see fit.

"The idea that they are going to create some kind of blood-testing system, it will simply mean that no one who uses cannabis will ever be able to drive again".

The marijuana will be available by way of a tightly controlled and regulated supply chain.

Criminals on the black market are the ones profiting from the current system, to the tune of anywhere from $7 billion to $8 billion a year, Goodale said. "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".

The Canadian government unveiled legislation on Thursday to legalize marijuana.

"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.

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.

Despite having low levels of mind-altering THC, hemp has been lumped into the same category as marijuana in the United States, and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

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".