Legalizing Marijuana Takes Shape in Canada-is the US Next?

Canada officially moved to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday when the government introduced legislation allowing the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

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

Under the proposed law, an adult will be able to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (roughly enough for 50 "joints" or rolled marijuana cigarettes) in public, and grow four cannabis plants at home for personal consumption which do not exceed one meter in height.

In anticipation of legalization, there has been a rush on licenses to produce medical marijuana, pot stocks have shot up, and dispensaries have opened in cities across the country vying for market share in what promises to be a lucrative business, leading to police raids and calls for sellers to wait for the legal regime.

The bill gives authority to set in place regulations for other specific areas such as font and colour, Philpott suggested Thursday, noting the government will take public health lessons from issues including tobacco. It will be left to Canadian provinces to decide how the drug will be distributed and sold. While eight USA states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalise recreational marijuana, the White House has suggested that the Department of Justice will do more to enforce federal laws prohibiting recreational marijuana, raising concerns over how Canada's approach will coexist with a potential U.S. crackdown.

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

Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said Thursday that the Canadian government has developed legislation with its American counterparts in mind.

But keep in mind that until marijuana is legalized next year, all existing laws surrounding cannabis must be respected. The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) supports the federal government's efforts and urges federal and provincial policy makers not to lose sight of the vital role that Canada's 10,000 pharmacies can play in the safe and secure distribution and dispensing of medical cannabis. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth.

The government said the legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, should be in force no later than July 2018. "We're going to change that", Mr Trudeau said.

But Larsen said there is no direct correlation between blood THC levels and whether or not you are impaired for driving. Previously, the U.S. allowed patients with a variety of medical conditions to smoke marijuana in a variety of states since 1996, and four states have voted to allow the sale and distribution of marijuana.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about today's legislation, such as where marijuana will be sold, how much it will costs, what percentage of the price will be tax and whether people will still opt for under-the-counter marijuana if it is significantly cheaper than the government-sanctioned variety.

"Professional companies must be allowed to explain to consumers why our products are superior to those offered by their illegal competitors", said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, which says it is the first private equity firm to invest exclusively in legal cannabis. When Wilson-Raybould was asked whether there was anything to stop provinces from setting the age limit as high as they want, she suggested they might face constitutional challenges.

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