Recreational Marijuana? Yes, but Tightly Regulated, Canadian Panel Suggests

Article by Ian Austen, New York Times

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but that doesn’t mean Canada will turn into a giant, smoke-filled set for a Cheech and Chong movie.

If Mr. Trudeau adopts the recommendations of a panel he appointed, marijuana’s move from the black market to the open market will be highly bureaucratic, heavily taxed and tightly controlled, with advertising and promotion virtually banned.

“The government doesn’t want to have a country consuming marijuana,” said Bruce Linton, the chairman and chief executive of Canopy Growth, which owns Tweed, one of 36 companies currently allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana. “They want a system for those who choose to consume it.”

The recommendations of the panel, which was led by Anne McLellan, a former cabinet minister from Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party, were made public on Tuesday. They propose that the government create a tightly controlled system that would lift marijuana out of the black market, but perhaps without exposing it to full sunlight.

“Now is the time to move away from a system that has, for decades, been focused on the prohibition of cannabis into a regulated legal market,” Ms. McLellan said at a news conference.

Mr. Trudeau has promised to introduce new laws by the spring.

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