Legal Marijuana is Coming

Article by The Globe and Mail

The Canadian government says it will legalize recreational marijuana use by 2018 or early 2019, effectively ending the prohibition on marijuana that dates back to 1923, using a model similar to the one in place for sales of tobacco and alcohol.

In a report released on Tues. Dec 13, a task force chaired by former Liberal minister Anne McLellan provided 80 recommendations. The 106-page report (Read the Framework for the Legalization and Regulation Of Cannabis In Canada) covers everything from advertising and branding to penalties for illicit production and trafficking, all legislated under a proposed new Cannabis Control Act.

What are the key recommendations?

  • Set a national minimum age of purchase of 18, allowing provinces and territories to harmonize it with their minimum age for buying alcohol.
  • Apply comprehensive restrictions to advertising and marketing.
  • Require plain packaging and prohibit any product deemed to be “appealing to children.”
  • Set a maximum amount of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis).
  • Prohibit mixed products, for example cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages or cannabis products with tobacco, nicotine or caffeine.
  • Introduce public education strategies to inform about cannabis risks.
  • Use revenue as a source of funding for administration, education, prevention, research, enforcement and treatment.
  • Implement a tracking system to prevent diversion and enable product recalls.
  • Allow dedicated storefronts located appropriate distances from schools, community centres and public parks.
  • Permit a direct-to-consumer mail-order system.
  • Allow personal cultivation for non-medical purposes with a limit of four plants per residence and a maximum plant height of 100 cm.
  • Extend current restrictions on public smoking of tobacco to the smoking of cannabis and to cannabis vaping products.

What were the task force’s key objectives?

The task force lists several objectives in its recommendation to legalize recreational marijuana, but the primary ones are to keep profits out of the hands of criminals, particularly organized crime, reduce the burden on police and the courts associated with simple possession and conversely prevent Canadians from receiving criminal records for simple possession offences and all the while protect young Canadians by keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth.

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