Canada Gets Down to Work to Legalise Recreational Cannabis in 2017

  • A few months after it announced plans to legalise marijuana, the Canadian Government has decided to take action. To this end its Executive branch, under Justin Trudeau, has created a task force that over the coming months will gather the information needed to implement its complete and effective regulation.

Canada's federal government has already taken the first step to liberalise marijuana consumption in the country. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has been charged with announcing the recent creation of a task force whose mission is to devise the best plan to legalise cannabis in the spring of 2017.

"Our aim is to come up with legislation capable of regulating access to non-medical marijuana while keeping it out of reach of both children and criminals," the minister explained. During her remarks she was very guarded, stressing that until the new legislation is approved, cannabis continues to be illegal in Canada. Likewise, the exceptions recognised for its medical use will also remain in force.

Over the next four months, the task force will consult with parties all across the country in order to decide on the ideal formula for legalisation. They will ask young people and experts in various fields, such as health care, criminal justice, economics, industry and law. They trust that their input will yield a global perspective that allows them to develop complete and effective legislation.

Its function will also be to hold talks with companies having expertise in the sale, production and distribution of marijuana. After gathering all the information, the task force will prepare a report to be submitted to the government in November.

The team is made up of a total of nine people, and is headed up by Anne McLellan, whose experience as Minister of Health and Public Safety was key to her appointment. McLellan says she is delighted to have been chosen for the task. "Given my experience in the past, I have a pretty good idea of the complexity of the task entrusted to me. I know it is one of the issues sparking the most interest in the country right now."

In addition to the opinions of experts, the Canadian government wants to hear from its citizens. Thus, it has created a platform for online queries and input through which everyone will be able to contribute to the issues put forth.

This news, though well received by Canadians, drew criticism from some sectors. Guy Caron, with the New Democratic Party, insisted that the measure taken by the government is disappointing. He believes that while legalisation should not be done hastily, the Government should at least decriminalise the possession of small amounts until it comes up with a definitive solution.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the promises made by Trudeau during his election campaign are not only being actively pursued, but are closer and closer to becoming reality. While the task force carries out its work, Canadian citizens will continue to harbour hopes that their country will take the path of their American neighbours and recognise marijuana's inevitable legalisation.


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