Liberals table bill to legalize pot

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil legislation on Thursday to fully legalize recreational marijuana use, making Canada only the second country to do so, after Uruguay.

Canadian lawmakers announced their intentions in March, saying their aim was to roll out the measure nationwide by July 1, 2018.

Canadians will be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use, but those who sell or give marijuana to minors or who drive under its influence will face stiff penalties.

"That is why the Government of Canada, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, today introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis".

The government's new policy had been expected for some time as Trudeau had endorsed legalizing marijuana on the campaign trail. Even though the move could reportedly bring in more than $5 billion in tax revenue a year, Trudeau still insists the goal of legalization isn't to increase tax profits, but to diminish the use of marijuana in minors and remove profits from the hands of drug dealers.

Buying marijuana would be legal for travelers over 18 visiting Canada.

Currently, Canadians with a prescription from a doctor can legally buy up to 150 grams of dried marijuana - from a registered licensed producer of medical marijuana, which delivers it by mail order.

"The current system of prohibition is failing our kids", said Liberal MP Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief and the government's point man on the legalized-marijuana file.

But many issues remain for government officials to figure out, including how much to charge for marijuana, reported CNN's partner CBC.

It noted that in the handful of U.S. states where recreational marijuana use is legal, the minimum age was set at 21, in line with alcohol consumption.

The new framework would make it illegal to market marijuana products to children, or sell to anyone under 18. Provinces would be able to raise the age.

Adults would be granted the rights to grow up to four plants per residence for personal use. Goodale said Canadian tourists "should never lie" to border guards and suggested he had raised the issue with USA officials.

The bill also introduces a number of new penalties and toughens already existing laws regarding alcohol and drug-impaired driving. A positive test could result to more testing including a blood test.

"We don't really have a way of monitoring or at least of detecting people who are driving on the roads who may be impaired by marijuana", said Gordon Wyant, justice minister of the Canadian province Saskatchewan. Moving pot across worldwide borders "would remain a serious criminal offence" under the new law.

They will also be permitted to set their own licensing, distribution and retail sales rules, establish provincial zoning rules for cannabis businesses and change provincial traffic safety laws as they deem necessary.

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