Canada introduces bill to legalize marijuana by July 2018

U.S voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted a year ago to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Another outlines rules for enforcing the proposed pot law, and includes provisions that could put convicted marijuana criminals in prison for up to 14 years.

The law will also allow adults to transport marijuana across Canada.

"We want to make it more hard for kids to access marijuana".

The plan is to have a legalized-pot system in place by the end of June 2018, he added.

Goodale made a point of noting the existing laws remain in effect until the new legislation is formally proclaimed the law of the land.

The legislation sets the minimum age at 18, but allows each province to determine whether the age should be higher.

For the first time in Canadian law, there would be a regulated limit of the amount of THC that if detected in a driver's blood by a roadside saliva test, could allow a police officer to demand an evaluation by a drug impairment expert or a blood sample.

No information was given on how the product will be priced or taxed; these details are expected to be announced by the country's finance minister in the coming months.

It's nothing short of a sea change in public policy, one with profound implications for everything from Canadian culture and health to border security, road safety and even global relations: legalizing marijuana.

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Public health experts have mostly backed a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, according to a government-backed panel.

Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.

"Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world", Goodale said. "We simply have to do better".

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that police forces spend between 2 billion and 3 billion Canadian dollars (between 1.5 billion and 2.25 billion US dollars) annually to enforce Canada's existing law against marijuana use.

"There's never so much demand to go the other way, especially when it's 40 below here (in Canada) and 70 degrees there", he said.

Early and regular cannabis use can affect memory, attention, intelligence and the ability to process thoughts, said CPA President Dr. Renuka Prasad, and exacerbate the risk of psychotic disorders and other mental health issues among those already vulnerable.

"We know that criminal prohibition has failed", former-police-chief-turned-MP Bill Blair, who spearheaded the initiative, told a press conference. While eight USA states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalise recreational marijuana, the White House has suggested that the Department of Justice will do more to enforce federal laws prohibiting recreational marijuana, raising concerns over how Canada's approach will coexist with a potential U.S. crackdown.

Rob Pederson, a Realtor from Saskatchewan with the travel-advice company Canada to Arizona, said he believes the proposed laws could help his country and redirect drug profits into legal avenues. Canadian folk singer Pat Robitaille released a "Weed song" to coincide with the government's announcement.

In anticipation of the legislative move, there has reportedly been a rush on licenses to produce medical marijuana, pot stocks have shot up, and dispensaries have opened in cities across the country vying for market share in what promises to be a lucrative business.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes the new measures would restrict youngsters' access to marijuana and reduce drug-related crime.

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