Liberals table bill to legalize pot

"We simply have to do better", said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Research done for Ottawa indicated the illicit marijuana market generates an estimated 7 billion Canadian dollars ($5.26 billion) a year for criminal organizations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said the goal is to restrict access of marijuana to minors and choke off profits from sales to organized crime. The bill still needs to be approved by Parliament, but Trudeaus Liberal party commands a solid majority there.

The proposal, which the party hopes to make law by July of 2018, sets a minimum purchase age of 18, which is one year below the legal drinking age in most Canadian provinces and three years below the minimum age set in USA states that have legalized recreational weed. In provinces that fail to regulate marijuana, residents will be able to purchase from federally regulated distributers over the Internet.

Canada has now become the first Group of 7 (G7) country to proceed with legalizing marijuana, as it made a decision to get rid of the criminal prohibitions that had been in place since 1923 because they have proven to be ineffective. They will also be permitted to grow up to four plants per residence and make cannabis-containing products at home for recreational use. The proposal calls on individual provinces to set up their own commercial markets and to determine where, how, and for how much marijuana will be sold.

While Canada had stopped enforcing pot laws for the past few years, this additional step toward full legalization is a huge leap for the country, and a major win for marijuana activists around the world. In the Netherlands marijuana use is generally tolerated, but it is not strictly speaking legal.

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.

Although the government has unveiled plans to legalise recreational marijuana, the rule won't become legal overnight. Marijuana taxes will be announced at a later date. "We hope that they implement their regimes as soon as possible".

One that dominated the conversation Thursday touched on how the changes could impact the country's relationship with the US, and what sort of administrative stress Canadians can expect at the border.

While numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation have been introduced in Congress to address some of those issues or even legalize marijuana completely, leaders in both parties have generally been wary of letting such provisions proceed.

The bill has its skeptics.

A February 2017 poll from NRG Research Group found that 57 percent of B.C. adults support marijuana legalization.

If approved, legislation would establish new rules letting Canadians legally buy, harvest and have limited amounts of government-controlled marijuana in addition to implementing measures meant to discourage individuals from skirting the proposed restrictions.

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