Canada introduces legislation to legalise marijuana
The liberal government on Thursday tabled two bills that will end the prohibition of marijuana in the country.
The stated aim of legalisation is to reduce policing and prosecutions, and keep marijuana out of the hands of children.
Goodale argued that the Canadian approach would ultimately prove to be the better one.
In short, he said: "We simply have to do better".
At a news conference attended by the various ministries affected by the proposed law, former Toronto police chief and current Liberal Member of Parliament Bill Blair called legalized pot a way of "protecting children and making our communities safer".
"They will have to demand more responsibility over cannabis, like they have over alcohol".
'The only control that is now in place is the criminal sanction and the laws, ' he said, according to CBC News.
It would create three new offenses and allow police to require saliva tests for drivers whom they suspect of being high, reported the CBC.
But the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said organized crime, including the infamous Hell's Angels motorcycle club have already acquired legal production licenses for medical marijuana that can then be sold illegally across the country. The government still has to debate the bill and provinces will have to draft their own regulations for sale.
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"I think that if we get it right, it can work", said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Here's what you need to know if you're thinking of investing in marijuana.
Opposition reaction Thursday ran the gamut: the Conservatives shook their heads at what they are convinced is a bad idea, while the New Democrats wondered what took so long. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that any revenues from the taxation of marijuana should be directed to addiction treatment, mental health services and public health education - initiatives Goodale said would be a key priority.
"We are moving from a prohibitive regime to a regulated regime", said a senior federal official. "Does he intend on downloading this entire thing for implementation and enforcement?"
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was asked that question - whether the Liberal government had sought assurances from the USA that someone who admitted to using cannabis legally would not face the same fate. Authorities have been battling a rise in illegal dispensaries, particularly in British Columbia and Ontario, for over a year.In jurisdictions that do not put a regulated retail framework in place, Canadians would be able to purchase marijuana online.
Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. The government said resources required by the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency will be provided to enforce the law at the border.
Canada has some of the highest marijuana use in the world, according to the task force, especially amongst young people.
It also bars packaging containing a "testimonial or endorsement" or that depicts a person, character or animal.
Provinces will be allowed to sell only cannabis produced by a licensed producer.
The provincial government of Saskatchewan has been vocal about its concerns, questioning the effectiveness of the government's plans to tackle the issue of drugged driving.
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