Lawmakers in Canada will introduce recreational marijuana legalization legislation by spring of next year. The government made the announcement on April 20th, a day known by cannabis smoking enthusiasts as “weed day.”

Marijuana legalization will make the country safer

While speaking at a special session on global drug policy at the United Nations in New York, Health Minister Jane Philpott said the federal government needs to take a “comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate” approach to drugs, including marijuana.

According to Philpott, marijuana legalization will challenge the position of many other countries, but her government believes it is the best way to improve public safety. The health minister also pledged to keep the drug out of the hands of children and profits away from criminal organizations.

During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign last year, he promised to legalize recreational weed, but never committed to a time frame. Trudeau, who has become one of the most popular Canadian leaders in recent history, admitted to occasional use of marijuana, but said he does not care for it that much.

Canadian legislator Gerard Deltell opposes the marijuana legalization law. He is convinced allowing recreational weed will cause more long-term harm than good by making it easier for Canada’s youth to obtain the drug.While some lawmakers are concerned about how marijuana legalization will affect the country’s population, Canadian citizens do not seem to be worried. According to Ottawa-based Nanos Research, an overwhelming 68 percent of Canadians support legalizing cannabis in some form.

Regulation will be similar to alcohol

The government has yet to provide details on how the law will be implemented. Production and distribution plans still need to be worked out, but many predict the federal government will regulate the supply chain and provincial governments will oversee distribution.

Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair said the sale and distribution of recreational cannabis will more than likely be regulated like alcohol.

Working with Health Canada, Blair will head up a task force to examine and offer guidance for every aspect of marijuana legalization, including regulation rules and restrictions.

Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada and numerous marijuana operations have opened across the nation. While limited to only medicinal sales, the companies are anxious for the widespread availability of recreational use marijuana and any currently licensed facility will have a tremendous advantage in the market.

One major Canadian bank estimated that legalization would create an annual marijuana industry worth $10 billion Canadian, or about $8 million U.S.

Even though several government officials claim it is a coincidence, Philpott’s announcement was made on the same day as thousands of marijuana legalization advocates and weed smokers attended different events across the country to celebrate 4/20 or “weed day.”

In the U.S., smoking marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in four states as well as Washington, D.C.

Advocates in another six states, including Massachusetts and California, are pushing similar legalization initiatives for voter approval this November.

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