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Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis In Landmark Legislation

Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis In Landmark Legislation

Legalization

Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis In Landmark Legislation

Officials in Canada announced on Thursday that a bill legalizing the purchase and sale of cannabis has passed.

The announcement marks the completion of a campaign promise PM Justin Trudeau made to his constituents during the last election cycle.

The new law will allow Canadians to sell and purchase small amounts of weed within a retail system under government supervision. But what exactly do we need to know about the new laws on the books?

Do’s and Don’ts of New Legislation

Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis In Landmark Legislation

According to the bill, the minimum age to purchase marijuana in Canada is 18 years old. Individual provinces will be allowed to set their own restrictions. Any person over the age limit will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried weed, as well as its equivalent in a non-dried form. (Whether or not this applies to products like tinctures is still unknown.)

Under the law, Canadian residents of legal age can cultivate their own crops. The bill permits up to four plants per household as long as they are less than one meter in height.

While the use of cannabis for medical purposes was legalized in Canada in 2001, this landmark legislation applies to recreational use. The medical marijuana program will continue as it has prior to the bill.

The legislation applies only to cannabis bought and sold within Canada. Unsurprisingly, international couriering of cannabis products will remain illegal. Additionally, all imports or exports require a federal permit.

Minors found in violation of these laws, while subject to punitive measures, may not be criminally prosecuted.

“Not a Free For All”

Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis In Landmark Legislation

Given this victory regarding marijuana legalization, Canadian politicians have stressed the importance of restrictions already in place.

“This must be an orderly transition,” urged Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in a message to the public.

“It is not a free for all,” he said.

There’s also a limit on THC consumption per individual when it comes to drivers. Any person behind the wheel of a car found in violation of a mandated amount of THC in the bloodstream can be punished by law. These measures range from hefty fines to significant jail time.

There’s also the matter of what constitutes probable suspicion. According to the new law, those police surmise might be over the legal limit can be pulled over if the odor of pot is present, or if the driver has red eyes. (Allergy sufferers, you might want to stock up on some meds.)

Officials like Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould gave praise to the new measures, marking April 13 as an “important day” against organized crime and possible profiteering. Wilson-Raybould also lauded the legislation as a huge win for protecting minors from underage use, according to the CBC.

Of course, these guidelines are general at best, and for good reason. It’s expected for individual provinces to set their own unique regulations and restrictions. Who can purchase or buy these products will also be determined by the provinces. Hence, no specifics.

The legislation is due to go into effect sometime in 2018. You can view the bill in full here.

J.E. Reich

J.E. Reich is a Brooklyn-based GRD staff writer and a former night/weekend editor at Jezebel. Their work has appeared in Slate, the Toast, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

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