Canada Unveils Bill To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fulfilled a campaign promise and proposed legislation Thursday.

It's been a big week for weed in Canada. This Thursday, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Canadian government proposed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana consumption, possession, and cultivation for adults over the age of 18––one of the PM's original campaign pledges. And though Toronto's medical marijuana dispensaries continue to be raided or shut down by the cops, the Great White North stands to make $675 million per year on legal weed if the recreational program works as the liberal government hopes it will.

From the Toronto Star:

• New legal limits to allow individuals to have up to 30 grams (a little more than an ounce) of cannabis on hand at a time, to consume as they wish — to smoke or eat it in home-baked — and to grow four plants in their own home, without breaking the law. There would still be tickets for possession of small amounts, or up to five years in jail for illegal possession of larger amounts, depending on the amount held.

• New criminal penalties for illegally supplying to minors (up to 14 years in jail) and for driving while impaired by marijuana. Penalties can range from $1,000 to life imprisonment for driving within two hours of having an illegal level of drugs in the blood. The penalty depends on whether someone was hurt or killed during the offense.

• Strict controls on advertising, marketing and branding of legal marijuana, such as standardized serving sizes and potency, and packaging and labeling.

Canada first legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2001 and sources expect the details of recreational legalization to be hammered out soon so the law can take effect by 2018. However, the nitty gritty, weedy specifics of retail, cultivation, and distribution licensing will be left up to Canada's individual provinces. 

Thursday's news regarding recreational legalization was met with mixed, though mostly positive reactions throughout the country.

Recommendations from a task force of cannabis experts have the country keeping its medical and recreational marijuana programs as separate entities. And if Trudeau's proposal is adopted, it would make Canada the world's largest country to legalize the devil lettuce.