New Canadian leadership begins marijuana legalization process

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It looks like Canada’s newly elected prime minster is going to make good on his promise to fully legalize marijuana.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently released a letter he sent to his minister of justice and attorney general – Jody Wilson-Raybould – in which he outlined a series of priorities for her.

Sixth on the list of 15 entries is to “create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

Trudeau directed Wilson-Raybould to work with the ministers of Public Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Health in her efforts to set up the new system.

While medical marijuana is already federally legal in Canada, the move would make the country just the second in the world (and the first developed nation) to legalize adult-use cannabis.

But one thing that’s still unclear is just how long it may take Canada to set up such a system. Uruguay, the first nation to legalize marijuana, did so in December 2013, and sales have not yet begun almost two years later.

Add to that the simple fact that Canada, with more than 35 million people, is much larger than any of the American states that have legalized recreational cannabis thus far. That means the country’s legal sales system will, by necessity, be much larger than anything yet seen in the world when it comes to a regulated cannabis market.