Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana soon

Sean Reid
June 23, 2018

Bill C-46, which passed its final vote in the Senate on Wednesday evening, was introduced alongside the Cannabis Act and will allow police to use roadside screening devices to swab the saliva of drivers to check for marijuana.

The Federal Government of Canada states that as of october 17, adults in Canada will be legally allowed to buy fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oils, and plants and seeds for cultivation "from either a provincially or territorially regulated retailer".

Trudeau's Liberal government introduced legislation previous year in a bid to make Canada the second country in the world to legalise cannabis, after Uruguay. Because Canada is also a culturally and economically similar country, allies of nationwide marijuana legalization will be watching closely.

Once enacted, the new law will allow for Canadians over the age of 18 to buy a gram of cannabis for about Can$10 (€6.50) or less from authorised private and public retail stores or by post.

"This is a historic step forward for the movement to end marijuana prohibition", Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.

The Federal Government has set a date for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government had hoped to make cannabis legal by July 1.

Passage of the bills had Trudeau and his ministers basking in the glow of finally delivering on one of the Liberals' biggest campaign promises in 2015.

The government says it will broaden its public education activities to help Canadians understand the new legal framework for cannabis, including what will be legal and when, and to remind Canadians that it remains illegal to take cannabis across Canada's global borders.

The Prime Minister expressed his thoughts on the bill, stating: "It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits". Currently, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, with nine of those going the whole way and opening it up to personal use.

"And therefore we do not want to encourage in any way people to engage in that behaviour until the law is changed". Jodie Emery - a cannabis activist who frequently voices her disapproval of the government's current legalization plan - told CTV that the change doesn't decriminalize marijuana in the way she and many other activists would like to see.

The House of Commons rose for the summer break today.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana.

The federal government has also amended the country's impaired driving laws to cover the consequences for driving under marijuana influence. "That's exactly what we did and we did it in partnership with the provinces", said Trudeau on Wednesday.

In Canada, much like in the United States, people of color are more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses despite smoking marijuana at the same amount that whites do. It is expected to receive royal assent sometime this week.

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