Canadian government introduces bill legalizing rec marijuana

Canada’s government on Thursday introduced highly anticipated legislation in the House of Commons to legalize recreational marijuana, proposing that existing licensed medical cannabis producers get the first crack at business licenses.

The legislation sets July 1, 2018, as the target date for legalization, The Globe and Mail reported.

At that time, adults 18 or older would be able to possess up to 30 grams – a little more than an ounce – of cannabis in public and grow a maximum of four plants per household.

It’s unclear at this time when sales or the licensing process would begin.

The bill stipulates that the federal ministries of Health, Justice and Public Safety would be responsible for overseeing and managing the program.

Under Canada’s existing medical marijuana program, the federal government already licenses the country’s 42 cultivation companies to grow medical cannabis. Those federally licensed businesses would be the first allowed to apply for federal recreational grow licenses, The Globe and Mail said.

The Canadian government, however, also wants to open cultivation opportunities to small growers, partly to undercut the illicit cannabis market and partly to create a more diverse market, the Globe and Mail said.

Under the new regime, the federal government would license marijuana producers, while the provinces would oversee the distribution and sale of rec marijuana.

The legislation faces numerous hurdles and is likely to take months to pass. Officials from the federal government, the provinces, and the territories are expected to comb through the jurisdictional details involving distribution and enforcement, the Windsor Star reported.