Toke Up, Eh! Canada Poised for Historic Marijuana-Legalization Law

Teens and minors under the age of 18, would be prohibited from having or buying marijuana.

At a news conference attended by the various ministries affected by the proposed law, former Toronto police chief and current Liberal Member of Parliament Bill Blair called legalized pot a way of "protecting children and making our communities safer". Here's what you need to know about the new legalization, set to take effect no later than July 2018.

The legislation, once passed, would allow police to use what she called "oral fluid screening devices" to check for marijuana impairment, while also creating brand new driving offences for those caught driving while impaired by pot.

Further to those guidelines, if Canadians want to grow their own marijuana, they are limited to four plants per household.

The more than 80 recommendations included maintaining a separate medical marijuana regime, as well as criminal penalties for trafficking and selling cannabis to youth.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the existing laws have been an "abject failure" in protecting public health and safety, keeping cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stopping the flow of profits to organized crime. "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".

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. "We're going to change that", according to a tweet from his official account. The federal government will oversee packaging and labelling. The Trump administration has yet to detail how it will approach marijuana policy, leaving many in the multibillion-dollar state-legal marijuana industry anxious.

"Currently, marijuana possession is against federal law in the United States, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce the law as appropriate", the official said.

Canada's proposed legislation follows success at US ballot boxes past year in several states, including recreational marijuana laws in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California.

"This is an orderly transition, not a free-for-all", he admonished.

The proposal to legalize pot has been applauded by marijuana advocates, but has raised concerns from others about a potential rise in impaired driving and the impact on the mental health of young Canadians.

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. He said the legislation introduced Thursday is expected to become law by the end of June when distribution and pricing arrangements are in place.

Goodale said they've been close touch with the US government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal.

  • Leroy Wright