Canada poised to legalize marijuana nationwide

Canada poised to legalize marijuana nationwide

PanARMENIAN.Net - Canada is poised to legalize recreational marijuana across the country this week, making it the first G7 country to do so, The Independent reports.

The Canadian Senate is due to vote on Thursday, June 7 on bill C-45, which would legalize the use and purchase of marijuana for people over 18. The bill has already passed the House of Commons, and is supported by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Senate has studied the bill for six months and is expected to pass it.

Sales of legal cannabis will not be permitted until two to three months after the legislation passes, the country’s health minister has said.

Canada would be the first of the G7 countries – a group of seven of the world’s largest economies – to legalize the drug nationwide. Some of the countries, including Canada, have passed legislation allowing marijuana for medical use. Several US states have legalized recreational use of the drug.

Becoming a leader in legalization could have major impacts on Canada’s economy. Legal marijuana is expected to be a more than $6bn business, according to a report by financial services company Deloitte, with $4.3bn coming from recreational sales and $1.7bn from medical.

Legal cannabis will be heavily regulated, however. Under guidelines from Canada’s public health agency, marijuana products will be sold in plain packaging with limited branding. Packaging will include a yellow health warning and a red stop sign indicating that the product contains cannabis, as well information on the particular strain and THC content.

Under the current legislation, adults will only be allowed to carry up to 30g of dried cannabis. Exceeding this amount in a public space – including an individual's own vehicle – will be punishable by up to five years in prison.

Driving under the influence of cannabis will also be highly punishable. The current proposal puts the penalty for a first offence at a minimum $1,000 fine, with a minimum of 30 days imprisonment for a second offence. Third and subsequent offences will be punishable by a minimum of 120 days.

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