Trudeau sets date for full legalisation of cannabis in Canada

By @chelean on
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reflected in a monitor while speaking during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 20, 2018.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reflected in a monitor while speaking during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 20, 2018. Reuters/Chris Wattie

Canada has set the date for the full legalisation of marijuana in the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that they would legalise the consumption and cultivation of cannabis starting Oct. 17.

Medical cannabis is already legal in Canada, but recreational marijuana was not. Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced the full legalisation last year in a bid to end about 95 years of prohibition.

Both Parliament houses have voted to fully legalise cannabis this week, including for recreational use. The move makes Canada the first G7 to do so and the second globally following Uruguay.

“Obviously, the current approach — the current prohibition of marijuana — has not worked to protect our kids, to keep the money out of the pockets of organised crime, and that’s why we’re bringing in a new legalised framework around marijuana,” Trudeau said on Wednesday.”

Trudeau, who admitted in 2013 that he used to smoke a joint with his friends back in his younger days, said with marijuana being legal, the government hopes to curtail the CA$6 billion (AU$6.12 billion) that’s entering the black market. “And over the following months, and indeed years, we will almost completely replace the organised crime market on that.”

The Trudeau government initially hoped to start by July, but the PM admitted that the provinces still need time to prepare their physical and online stores. Once the legalisation takes effect on Oct. 17, Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four plants in their home and carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use in public. Anything more than the allowed amount will face stiff penalties. Those who share cannabis to minors will also be penalised. Canada’s provinces will organise the legal sale in licensed stores or in government-controlled liquor stores.

As for whether the government would pardon Canadians with prior marijuana convictions, Trudeau said it would be “illogical” to consider it before the law comes into effect. For now, he said, “the current regime stays.”