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In Canada, bill to legalize pot touted as pro-safety

In Canada, bill to legalize pot touted as pro-safety

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, following through on campaign promises, introduced federal legislation today that would legalize personal possession and cultivation of marijuana throughout the country.

The new legislation paves the way for the country to become the first in the G7 to fully legalise the drug, reports CNN.

Bills introduced Thursday in Parliament signaled the government's biggest step yet towards fulfilling Mr. Trudeau's pledge of abolishing Canada's federal prohibition on pot less than two years after he assumed office.

New laws would also increase the penalty for people who sell to the under-aged, as well as create a new offence for people "exploiting children in the trafficking of cannabis".

"The current system of prohibition is failing our kids", Liberal MP Bill Blair, a supporter of the legislation, said Thursday. The proposed legislation will be carefully scrutinized by provincial governments, marijuana producers and a number of would-be distributors and sellers of marijuana that are all looking for a piece of the multibillion-dollar market. However, Canada's provinces and territories, which under the constitution have regulatory powers, can set a higher legal age.

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Despite recreational marijuana's all but certain future status as legal, Blair said "pot pardons" are not under consideration. The government is yet to decide whether the producers would use child-proof packaging or plain packaging.

After acquiring Royal Assent, the proposed act would allow adults to legally possess and use cannabis. But illegal sales or giving it to minors would carry penalties up to 14 years in jail.

"If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure", he said.

In a release, Kennedy also said that unfairly restricting product formats and branding would give an unfair advantage to black market operators and other producers selling low-quality products at low prices.

The South American nation of Uruguay is the only country that has legalized marijuana for recreational use.

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Sponsors of the legislation said that they had little choice but to back off, leaving Colorado with its patchwork of rules for pot clubs. "One of the things we know, for instance, is that it's not the cash cow that people think it is and there are a lot of costs associated with it". "It will be very important for people to understand that crossing the border with this product will be illegal", he said. Despite about $2-6 billion spent by the Canadian police to deal with marijuana use, Canadian teens are among "the heaviest users in the Western world", Goodale said.

Although recreational marijuana use has been legalised in some USA states, including Colorado and Washington, the legislation puts Canada on track to be the first Group of Seven country to legalise it nationally.

The legalization of marijuana is being overseen by the departments of Health, Justice and Public Safety. "We simply have to do better".

"They come over all the time and ask me if cannabis is available", Panjwani said.

"This is an orderly transition, not a free-for-all", he admonished.

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