Canada introduces law to decriminalize marijuana

The federal government will oversee packaging and labelling.

Bill Blair, a member of parliament and former Toronto police chief who has led the government’s marijuana reform process, said that the government consulted extensively with officials in Colorado and Washington.

Shares of licensed marijuana producers were trading lower following the announcement, including Canopy Growth Corp, which was off 2.8 percent to C$10.03, while OrganiGram Holdings Inc slipped 4.8 percent to C$2.95.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale agreed with Blair. In B.C., the current underground cannabis market is worth an estimated $7 billion annually.

In an effort to keep cannabis away from youth and its profits from criminals, it would also set the legal minimum age for purchasing pot at 18, according to federal officials. However, the government has allowed the provinces to set a higher age limit if they wish to do so. It would also allow them to grow as many as four marijuana plants in their homes.

The Liberal government has tabled legislation to end the prohibition on pot and regulate it for recreational use, checking off a major campaign promise from the 2015 campaign.

The measure would make Canada the largest developed country to allow recreational marijuana, USA Today reported.

Legal marijuana in Canada, one of the U.S.s strongest allies, could be a game-changer for domestic marijuana policy discussions in the states. An official panel recommended late past year that the government require plain packaging.While medical marijuana is already legal in Canada, consulting firm Deloitte has estimated annual sales of recreational marijuana could be as high as C$8.7 billion ($6.5 billion). Additionally, all imports or exports require a federal permit. Further criticism has come to Ottawa due to their choice not to decriminalize cannabis before its legalization.

Health Minister Jane Philpott announces changes regarding the legalization of marijuana during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Shares of marijuana producers were trading lower following the announcement, though the stocks have seen a run-up in anticipation of legalization.Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) fell 3.8 percent to C$9.92, though the stock has more than tripled in the previous year.

“They’re too novel for us to say”.

The bill has its skeptics.

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.

“Today, we are following through on our commitment to introduce comprehensive legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis and to create new laws to punish more severely those who drive under its influence”, said Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. This risk will spill over into even younger kids.”. About 30% of people aged 20-24 use cannabis.

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