The high road: Canada embarks on game changing legal marijuana experiment

The federal government has unveiled its plan to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Canada officially moved to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday when the government introduced legislation allowing the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

"We know that criminal prohibition has failed", former-police-chief-turned-MP Bill Blair, who spearheaded the initiative, told a press conference.

The government's new policy had been expected for some time as Trudeau had endorsed legalizing marijuana on the campaign trail. Individuals would be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of recreational pot, similar to the one-ounce standard set in several USA states with legal marijuana laws in effect, while households would be allowed to grow up to four plants.

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Canadians would also be permitted to grow up to four plants per residence for personal use, as well as make legal cannabis-containing products at home. Those who are under the influence of marijuana, he said, are still drastically less impaired than they would be under the effect of legal quantities of alcohol. While the capital will regulate the production and ensure the safety of the country's marijuana, the Canadian province will decide how the drugs will be distributed and sold.

There are also a series of prohibitions on the marketing, advertising and display of marijuana products. Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Public Safety would be responsible for enforcing the regulations.

But keep in mind that until marijuana is legalized next year, all existing laws surrounding cannabis must be respected. Canada's 10 provinces and three territories have the authority to increase, but not decrease, the minimum age for use and impose additional requirements for personal cultivation.

At this point, there are 42 companies that have the necessary authorizations from Health Canada to produce marijuana for medical purposes across the country. "It will allow law enforcement to focus on other serious offences, including the distribution of cannabis to children and youth and driving under the influence of drugs".

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The Canadian government also would take over responsibility for setting "strict requirements for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis", including potency standards and tracking systems to prevent diversion of legal marijuana into the black market.

"We believe the contents of the bill were positive for the most part, as it pertains to licensed MMJ producers, he says". Thats slightly lower than the drinking age limit of 19 in most provinces.

Despite having low levels of mind-altering THC, hemp has been lumped into the same category as marijuana in the United States, and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Goodale argued that the Canadian approach would ultimately prove to be the better one. In other words, somebody crossing from Washington State, where recreational pot is legal, into British Columbia could still be arrested if marijuana is discovered in his or her possession.

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Trudeau has repeatedly said, as he did in Parliament this week, that it is easier for a teenager to buy a marijuana cigarette than a bottle of beer, "and that is not right".

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