Federal legislation on legalizing marijuana unveiled

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2017

The Canadian government has introduced legislation which puts the country on track to make recreational marijuana use legal by July 2018, with plans to regulate production but leave the oversight of retail sales up to the provinces.

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.

For the first time, the bill would make it a criminal offense to sell cannabis to a minor and create significant penalties for those who engage young Canadians in cannabis-related offenses.

Proposed legislation announced Thursday by the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana as early as next year comes with strengthened laws for offences.

Bill Blair, the ex-Toronto police chief turned Liberal MP, said the objective is not to promote the use of pot, but to allow its safe, socially responsible use through the mechanism of legislation and strict regulation.

Rob Pederson, a Realtor from Saskatchewan with the travel-advice company Canada to Arizona, said he believes the proposed laws could help his country and redirect drug profits into legal avenues.

The press conference in Ottawa with Philpott, Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale is scheduled for noon today.

In the US, meanwhile, lawmakers introduced bicameral legislation this month aimed at reining in Washington's own pot prohibition.

The legislation aims to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, a change that would have a profound impact on the nascent cannabis industry, which to this point has been limited to the medical sector. Please support our efforts. Even though the move could reportedly bring in more than $5 billion in tax revenue a year, Trudeau still insists the goal of legalization isn't to increase tax profits, but to diminish the use of marijuana in minors and remove profits from the hands of drug dealers.

The legislation divides the responsibilities of legalisation between the federal and provincial governments.

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

A senior federal official told The Globe and Mail that the government has taken the opportunity to clean up all provisions in the Criminal Code dealing with impaired driving to remove a number of loopholes. In provinces that fail to regulate marijuana, residents will be able to purchase from federally regulated distributers over the Internet.

Legalized pot would reduce organized crime's earnings from drug trafficking, the government's statement said.

This announcement by the Liberal government could not come soon enough, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces mounting criticism for dragging his feet on the issue.

Currently, "processing and selling cannabis for non-medical purposes" is against Canadian law in all parts of the country.

Federal ministers said Thursday that the pricing and taxation of recreational pot remain to be worked out with the provinces and producers. People will also be permitted to grow up to four plants at home.

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