Pot stocks sell off in wake of release of federal legislation

Canada on Thursday released a plan to legalize recreational marijuana use across the country by July 2018.

The proposed Cannabis Act "prohibits any promotion, packaging and labelling of cannabis that could be appealing to young persons or encourages its consumption, while allowing consumers to have access to information with which they can make informed decisions about the consumption of cannabis".

"Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and our communities", said Bill Blair, who is parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, a former Toronto police chief and one of the architects of the bill.

The law would increase penalties for those who sell to children, and revamp impaired driving laws to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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. Under the new regime, the federal government will license marijuana producers, while the provinces will be in charge of distributing and selling the product to Canada's adult market.

There are also a series of prohibitions on the marketing, advertising and display of marijuana products.

Since the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals have couched their push to legalize pot in a counterintuitive message: that it is the single best way to keep the drug out of the hands of impressionable and still-developing children.

"We believe the contents of the bill were positive for the most part, as it pertains to licensed MMJ producers, he says". But the bill is expected to pass, meaning soon most Canadians over the age of 18 will be able to buy weed, and households will be able to grow up to four plants.

Marijuana legalization advocates in Canada who oppose an arbitrary driving limit for THC should be in contact with lawmakers and Prime Minister Trudeau to ask them to avoid setting a specific limit for THC as their proposal would do.

The plan is to have a legalized pot system in place by the end of June 2018.

But Dionne said that he can "guarantee" that marijuana dispensaries would be subject to discretionary use zoning - which means they'll need to go before council for approval. He was the federal government's point man on the recreational-marijuana file.

Health Canada states that Canada "has the highest rates of youth cannabis use of any country in the world".

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was asked that question - whether the Liberal government had sought assurances from the USA that someone who admitted to using cannabis legally would not face the same fate.

"The laws of the United States are the responsibilities of the United States. Our system will actually be the better one", Goodale said.

"I have to ask myself why this bill wouldn't have been tabled six or 12 months ago", said NDP health critic Don Davies, noting the challenge now before the provinces.

The bill, inspired in part by the experiences of cannabis regimes in Colorado and Washington state, goes well beyond the US situation, where marijuana remains prohibited at the federal level.

  • Leroy Wright