Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he would work toward legalizing marijuana in the country during his campaign, possibly saw his popularity get higher Thursday when he introduced legislation legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in the country.
The bundle of bills tabled Thursday in the House of Commons marks the start of a lengthy process which, once complete in July 2018, will usher in a dramatic cultural change, its ramifications reaching into almost every aspect of Canadian society.
It remains to be seen if criminal organizations can break into the recreational marijuana market that will be created by the new government legislation.
Now, new offences could be added to the Criminal Code under the Government's proposed legislation - including those for driving under the influence of drugs.
Proposed legislation announced Thursday by the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana as early as next year comes with strengthened laws for offences. "We have a responsibility to act as expeditiously as we can".
It's expected to pass, according to news reports, giving Canada the most liberal marijuana laws of any country on earth. Permits may be issued for certain purposes, such as medical cannabis and industrial hemp.
In the US, meanwhile, lawmakers introduced bicameral legislation this month aimed at reining in Washington's own pot prohibition.
The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) is very pleased that the Trudeau government is moving forward with legalizing the production and sale of recreational cannabis with the introduction of the Cannabis Act today. "We're going to change that".
But that won't stop Americans from using marijuana across the border if and when the drug becomes legal.
Trafficking would continue to be illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, as would selling pot to youths or driving under the influence.
Todays plan to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis will put an end to this. "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".
The new bill outlines that it will be illegal to drive within two hours of having an illegal level of drugs in the blood. Adults would be allowed to produce legal cannabis products such as food or drinks, for personal use at home. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, at Thursday's news conference, was asked by numerous reporters about potential problems at the border, and whether Canadians traveling to the U.S.
A February 2017 poll from NRG Research Group found that 57 percent of B.C. adults support marijuana legalization. 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.
She said: "One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships".
But a government-appointed task force has concluded that the "current science is not definitive on a safe age for cannabis use".