[JURIST] An anonymous Canadian government official on Monday announced the country’s intention to legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018. The news [Telegraph report] follows public declarations from both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould [official profiles] to introduce legislation legalizing and strictly regulating the substance. Canada is expected to incorporate the advice of the marijuana task force, which has suggested that citizens be permitted to carry 30 grams of recreational marijuana and grow up to four marijuana plants, with higher potency marijuana being subject to higher taxes. According to the task force, recreational marijuana should not be sold by alcohol and tobacco vendors, and alcohol free lounges should be available for smoking in public. Furthermore, the minimum age would likely be 21 years old as normally preferred by public health experts. Trudeau is expected to introduce official legislation in April. According to Raybould, such legislation must “pass through the parliamentary process in a timely fashion.” Should the legislation pass, Canada will become the biggest developed country to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide.
The use of legalization of marijuana has been an important issue for many countries around the world. In February the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved a bill [JURIST report] that would permit the cultivation of cannabis. In January Maine’s governor signed [JURIST report] a moratorium bill that delayed the legal sale of marijuana by retailers for one year, although still allowed the possession of marijuana for personal use by those 21 or older. In April Mexico’s president proposed [JURIST report] a bill relaxing laws on marijuana use. In December 2015 Colombia’s president legalized [JURIST report] medical marijuana. In June 2015 Canada’s top court lifted [JURIST report] a restriction that the only acceptable form of medical marijuana was smoking the dried plant.