Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

New federal marijuana legislation pushes ahead

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Bill Blair said: "As a former police officer, I know firsthand how easy it is for our kids to buy cannabis".

"Right now, we have a system that has been built up in a piece-meal approach", the senior official said, adding the government now wants to tighten up the law for both drug- and alcohol-related impairment. The bill still needs to be approved by Parliament, but Trudeaus Liberal party commands a solid majority there. Canada's 10 provinces and three territories have the authority to increase, but not decrease, the minimum age for use and impose additional requirements for personal cultivation.

Although the government's plan will lift the 94-year-old prohibition on recreational use of marijuana, Larsen said it is not enough.

Consumers will also be allowed to grow up to four plants at home or buy from a licensed retailer. The proposed legislation will be carefully scrutinized by provincial governments, marijuana producers and a number of would-be distributors and sellers of marijuana that are all looking for a piece of the multibillion-dollar market. In jurisdictions that do not put a regulated retail framework in place, Canadians would be able to purchase marijuana from regulated producers online.

The legislation commits the federal government to additional investment for licensing, inspection and enforcement challenges, and promises a "robust" public awareness campaign about the dangers of impaired driving.

The measure would make Canada the largest developed country to allow recreational marijuana, USA Today reported. Cannabis dispensaries have already opened in many cities across Canada catering to the medical marijuana trade but pharmacies are also interested in getting part of the business. In Canada legal adulthood starts at 18 or 19, depending on the province. "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". "We hope that they implement their regimes as soon as possible".

Opposition parties are split on the issue.

The new law will expand pot use to non-medicinal purposes, where now Canadian law mandates that such uses are illegal, according to NPR.

But it won't mean much to the thousands of Canadians going to Arizona every year except for the possibility of slightly more hassle at the worldwide border by suspicious customs officers, he said.

Marijuana won't become legal overnight.

The bill has its skeptics.

"The Liberals said their intent is to restrict and limit access to marijuana and introduce tougher penalties, to not normalize the use of it and not promote it with any packaging or advertising", said Jodie Emery, a long-time advocate for legalization. This risk will spill over into even younger kids.”. About 30% of people aged 20-24 use cannabis.

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.

Officials said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018.

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