Canadian lawmakers call for legalizing recreational marijuana

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It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth.

Shares of marijuana-related companies sold off Thursday amid industry uncertainty in the wake of the release of the federal government's legislation aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana. According to one estimate, Canada's legal-marijuana market could be worth almost $5 billion by 2019.

"Canada's current system of marijuana prohibition does not work".

The legislation also imposes tough new penalties of up to 14 years in prison for people giving or selling marijuana to children.

Lawmakers in Canada have introduced legislation that would make it the largest developed country to legalize marijuana nationwide.

Goodale said they've been close touch with the USA government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal. As Ottawa works toward squeezing out illegal producers of marijuana, federal officials are anxious that a shortage of cannabis would hurt their plans in the initial stages of legalization.

The legislation, once passed, would allow police to use what she called "oral fluid screening devices" to check for marijuana impairment, while also creating brand new driving offences for those caught driving while impaired by pot.

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If the law succeeds, Canada will be the second country in the world to legalize marijuana.

Canadian officials were in close touch with their American counterparts as they drafted the proposed law, Ralph Goodale, Canada's public safety minister, said on Thursday. Individuals would be allowed to carry up to 30 grams of recreational pot, similar to the one-ounce standard set in several US states with legal marijuana laws in effect, while households would be allowed to grow up to four plants.

Bill Blair, a member of parliament and former Toronto police chief who has led the government's marijuana reform process, said that the government consulted extensively with officials in Colorado and Washington.

However, the legalisation will be divided between the federal and provincial governments. "We are pleased to see the government moving towards laws that better reflect our society". In provinces that fail to regulate marijuana, residents will be able to purchase from federally regulated distributers over the Internet. And in some provinces, the governments are anxious to allow their retail alcohol monopolies to sell cannabis as well.

The government said it will provide details on a new licensing fee and tax system in the coming months.

"There's never so much demand to go the other way, especially when it's 40 below here (in Canada) and 70 degrees there", he said.

The bill gives authority to set in place regulations for other specific areas such as font and colour, Philpott suggested Thursday, noting the government will take public health lessons from issues including tobacco. "This needs to be an orderly transition", he said.