Canada is on track to legalize recreational marijuana by next year after the government put forward legislation on Thursday that will see it regulate production.
Should the Canadian legislature approve the Cannabis Act and other measures, the sale of legal marijuana in Canada would be limited to those age 18 and above.
Canadians will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use, but those who sell or give marijuana to minors or who drive under its influence will face stiff penalties.
The Canadian Government is about to announce that adult-use cannabis will be legal by July 1st, 2018. It will keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, and stop criminals from profiting from it..
No matter where it's sold, customers still would not be allowed to bring marijuana products back to the United States under any circumstances.
Police have warned Canadians that, for now, using cannabis remains illegal and they will continue to clamp down on those breaking the law.
"We know that criminal prohibition has failed", former-police-chief-turned-MP Bill Blair, who spearheaded the initiative, told a press conference.
The provincial government of Saskatchewan has been vocal about its concerns, questioning the effectiveness of the government's plans to tackle the issue of drugged driving. An official panel recommended late a year ago that the government require plain packaging.While medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, consulting firm Deloitte has estimated annual sales of recreational marijuana could be as high as C$8.7 billion ($6.5 billion).
However, marijuana will remain illegal until the new law is approved and goes into effect.
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Canada has permitted medical use of cannabis since 2001 and has a thriving industry of licensed marijuana suppliers who have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the recreational market.
"We want to make sure that we are protecting the vulnerable and the youth, that we are promoting public health and road safety and that we are focusing on prevention and harm reduction", Naqvi said.
- Sales to be restricted to people age 18 and older, although provinces would have the jurisdiction to increase their own minimum age.
On that note, there are now 42 companies that have been authorized by Health Canada to produce medicinal marijuana across the country.
"The bills we propose today are aiming at putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business", said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The bill also introduces a number of new penalties and toughens already existing laws regarding alcohol and drug-impaired driving.
Under the new regime, police would use new roadside saliva or blood tests to determine if a person is intoxicated, a crime punishable by fines or up to 10 years in prison.
"Every sovereign country has the ability at the border to make decisions for themselves", Goodale said.