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Canada Moves to Legalize Marijuana
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President Justin Trudeau

Summary: President Trudeau of Canada introduced a bill to legalize marijuana use for at least adults over 18 but the provinces get the final say on all governing rules.

Watch out world, Canada is on the move to join the ranks of countries to completely legalize marijuana. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented legislation that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada. Trudeau pledged to open up the use marijuana during his campaign.

  
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Uruguay is the first country to completely legalize marijuana, so should the bill pass in Canada like it is expected to, Canada would become the second country to make marijuana legal. A number of other countries have made steps to opening up the use of marijuana by either allowing it to be used medically or not enforcing laws against the use of it.

There are a number of kinks that need to be worked out to make the transition smooth but a panel of experts have already done most of the work. Each Canadian province will be able to set the rules on how marijuana is distributed and sold within the province’s boundaries. The government will establish a way of measuring marijuana consumption, similar to breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests for alcohol use. This is to ensure drivers are not impaired when driving and workers are able to work safely on the job. And there is still the issue that many medical experts are concerned about. There is little known about the long-term health effects on a person’s body, specifically Canadians under the age of 25, from the increased use of marijuana.

A more complicated factor will be reserved for diplomats. They get to figure out how to deal with the conflicts that will inevitably develop from international drug treaties. Enacting this law would place Canada in violation of three United Nations treaties regarding drugs. There may be a way out by using the excuse of “scientific purposes”, but that is yet to be fully explored. There are eight states in the United States that have legalized marijuana to some extent but it is still illegal under federal law.

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Canada tinkered with marijuana laws in 1999 when they introduced tighter limits on medical marijuana use but have generally broadened the rules in other courts. The new law will still require purchasers to be a minimum of 18 years old. Each province can set higher limits if they wish. There will also be a limit of only 30 grams that a person can carry on their body at one time. A household can have four marijuana plants. Commercial growers will be required to licensed and closely supervised by the government. The provinces will be able to determine where and how marijuana can be sold and at what price.

The money regulations will be similar to their tobacco regulations. Canada closely regulates tobacco, even trying to discourage the use of it by increasing taxes on cigarettes. This move only increased the black market for cigarettes being smuggled in from the US and other places. Canada does not want this to happen again but does want the amount of marijuana dealing to shrink.



Trudeau has not provided direction on where users will be able to buy marijuana but it is safe to assume it will be similar to alcohol. Several of the provinces only allow alcohol to be bought from government-run liquor stores. A federal task force has recommended that the two items not be sold in the same stores.

Before the law is passed, more research will have to be done to figure out how to measure impairment. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police forces are testing two different screening devices that measure drugs in saliva, including the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, THC.

Do you think making marijuana legal is a smart move? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the progress of marijuana in the United States, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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