NewsAlert: Liberals introduce long-awaited bill to legalize marijuana

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government unveiled legislation Thursday to fully legalize marijuana, making Canada only the second country to do so, after Uruguay.

The federal legislation would allow Canadians to possess up to 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis and sets the minimum age at 18.

The law would allow for possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public, share up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with other adults and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially-regulated retailer.

Both bills are likely to face opposition among members of Parliament, but the Liberal government nonetheless expects the legislation to be enacted by July 2018, Canada's CBC predicted.

While eight U.S. 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 USA crackdown.

Eight states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, plus the District of Columbia, have voted to legalize and regulate cannabis for non-medical purposes.

It would also be against the law to sell cannabis in a package or with a label that could be construed as appealing to young people, to include testimonials or endorsements, or to depict a person, character or animal.

Medical marijuana use has been regulated in Canada since 2001.

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"The bills we propose today are aiming at putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business", said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The federal Liberal government took the first step Thursday toward a massive overhaul of Canada's drug laws that will make it legal for those aged 18 and older to grow, buy and use recreational marijuana as early as next year.

New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars. "The Cannabis Act reflects an evidence-based approach that will protect Canadians' public health and safety".

Provinces will be allowed to sell only cannabis produced by a licensed producer.

The prime minister revealed legislation on Thursday that would make it legal to recreationally smoke marijuana across Canada. "We are pleased to see the government moving towards laws that better reflect our society".

Penalties can range from $1,000 to life imprisonment for driving within two hours of having an illegal level of drugs in the blood. OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OGI.V), which has almost doubled, fell 9.7 percent to C$2.80.The market action was likely a "sell the news" reaction as the legislation was largely in line with what an official task force recommended a year ago, said Aaron Salz, founder of Stoic Advisory. For instance, advertisers will not be allowed to market pot directly to youths in the same way that tobacco can not use youthful themes. "The more you use and the younger you start, you have up to four times the risk of developing some kind of psychotic illness".

"If you add 10 or 15 seconds to every vehicle inspection on average at the border, you're going to back up the cars a significant amount of distance", he said.

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