Canada Introduces Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

"OTTAWA â€" The Liberal government's point man on pot says Canada Day 2018 should not be about legalizing marijuana but about recognizing the country's history.

While the federal age of purchase is a minimum of 18 years old, the provinces will have the freedom to make that age higher if they so choose.

They would allow individuals to grow up to four plants at home for personal use. Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada. However, people caught selling to or engaging in pot-related actives with minors would be specifically subject to harsher penalties.

Flowering medicinal marijuana plants in 2016 at Tweed INC in Smith Falls, Ontario.

Health Minister Jane Philpott announces changes regarding the legalization of marijuana during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, April 13, 2017.

The plan represents progress for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised to legalize marijuana during his campaign.

"As a former police officer, I know firsthand how easy it is for our kids to buy cannabis".

The plan is to have a legalized-pot system in place by the end of June 2018, he added. The bill does say, however, that it would be against the law to sell cannabis in a package, or with a label, that could be interpreted as being appealing to children and youth.

The legalization of marijuana is being overseen by the departments of Health, Justice and Public Safety.

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"This piece of legislation puts the Canadian family at risk".

"Consequently, crossing with marijuana is prohibited and could potentially result in fines, apprehension, or both", according to the agency's statement. The province signalled last week it is still trying to determine whether marijuana will be treated like alcohol - the sale of which is limited to government-run LCBO outlets, the Beer Store chain, privately owned wine shops, and selected supermarkets - or like tobacco, which is restricted to licensed retailers.

Unlike in the United States, the age limit to purchase marijuana in Canada will be 18. The brain is in a critical time of development until about age 30.

Even in U.S. States where pot is legal, you might run into a problem crossing the border while you're holding, warned Canada's minister of public safety Ralph Goodale, who didn't sound convincing when he said there are ongoing talks with their American counterparts on cross border issues. In 2015, use among youth aged 15 to 19 was 21 per cent, while use among young adults aged 20 to 24 was 30 per cent.

The House amendment passed Thursday effectively removes club regulations, and the remaining bits of the bill are relatively minor. The Task Force also suggested only allowing plain packaging to be used for marijuana products.

The new regulations closely follow recommendations proposed in December by a task force led by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan. It will be left to Canadian provinces to decide how the drug will be distributed and sold.

By contrast, national legalization to the North could create a fertile environment for marijuana businesses to start up and operate, potentially giving Canadian companies a competitive edge over stateside businesses in the future.

There are other dates by which the new law could be enacted, he said.

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