10 takeaways from Canada’s marijuana legalization bill
Emily Gray Brosious
April 13, 2017: 4:29 PM CT
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Composite image credits: [Justin Trudeau] Drew Angerer/Getty Images; [Cannabis graphic] Fred the Oyster/Openclipart)
Canada’s Liberal government introduced legislation on Thursday, April 13, to legalize marijuana for adults across the nation.
The measure, which aims to legalize marijuana for adults no later than July 2018, would make Canada the second country in the world to fully legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. Uruguay legalized the drug in 2013.
“The current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes,” Health Canada wrote in a Thursday news release. “That is why the Government of Canada, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, today introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau secured an election victory in 2015 on a platform that included plans to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and Thursday’s announcement is a step toward the Liberal Party leader’s campaign pledge.
“Today, we are following through on our commitment to introduce comprehensive legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis and to create new laws to punish more severely those who drive under its influence,” Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a release. “The Cannabis Act reflects an evidence-based approach that will protect Canadians’ public health and safety.”