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Justin Trudeau Agrees With Minimum Age Of 18 To Buy Marijuana

Justin Trudeau thinks that those 18 and up should be able to buy marijuana legally.

Advocates for marijuana’s legalization have long argued that the drug should be regulated like alcohol. Now, it appears they gained an ally in the country’s Prime Minister.

At a press conference last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he agreed that those allowed to drink legally be permitted to smoke marijuana as well.

Trudeau’s statement comes in response to a recommendation made by a federal task force. In a report on marijuana legalization, the task force recommended that 18 should be the minimum age to buy recreational marijuana. However, 18 does not represent legal drinking age across all provinces. Therefore, the task force also recommended that provinces make its marijuana laws coincide with their legal drinking age.

Of course, the task force’s recommendation earned its fair share of detractors. The Canadian Medical Association argued the minimum age to buy marijuana should be 21. Evidence shows that the brain is still developing until one turns 25, making marijuana usage beforehand potentially unsafe.

Trudeau argued that a minimum age of 18 would still ensure marijuana stays away from children and prevents criminals from reaping its profits. In French, Trudeau stated: “We know the largest misdeeds of marijuana use happens at a lower age than 18, 19 years of age, and I think this is a responsible approach that we have found in terms of balance that is both practical and useful.”

The task force conceded that no universal consensus exists on the minimum age to purchase marijuana.  In addition, according to the task force, increasing the minimum age comes with multiple drawbacks. On one hand, an age set too high makes it likely that people will still buy marijuana illicitly. Moreover, an overly high minimum age makes it likelier that the government will criminally prosecute young people. The highest rates of marijuana usage occur between the 18 to 24 bracket, so an ideal minimum age would factor in that statistic. Going on that logic, then, the report also argued that a minimum age of 25 remains unrealistic. Ultimately, a minimum age that reaches too high would make marijuana users continue to buy the drug illegally.

For more on this story, visit The Huffington Post.

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Canadian Doctors Conflicted On Legal Age For Marijuana Use

The debate about whether or not marijuana should be legalized in Canada continues on. The latest piece is determining what the minimum age should be for purchasing weed. How young is too young?

The Canadian medical association conducted a survey of 788 doctors to explore week usage in the country in anticipation of the federal government legalizing marijuana. According to the study, Canadian doctors are divided when it comes to determining what the legal weed-using age should be. 35 per cent were in favour of 18 or 19 being the minimum legal age, 45 per cent of participants favoured 21, while a fifth of those surveyed stated the minimum age should be 25. However, the key take away from this survey was that 87 percent of doctors think that there needs to be more medical research into the potential health risks of marijuana.Critics of legalizing marijuana are concerned about the potential risks smoking weed can have on young developing brains. Which, presumably, is why one fifth of respondents want the legal age to be 25.

An article in The Globe and Mail further highlights the differences in opinion many doctors have over marijuana. Chris Milburn, a physician from Sydney, Nova Scotia, thinks that doctors are too complacent about marijuana use by their patients. However, Ashley Miller of St. John’s stated that she’s not so sure that weed is as harmful as other recreational drugs such as alcohol. She also stated that “the role of physicians is to give patients the best information possible to reduce harm”, and pleaded with the CMA to provide practical evidence that will aid in daily practice.

Even though the Liberal federal government wants to legalize marijuana, it’s becoming clear that there are a number of different factors that need to be addressed before it becomes totally legalized. Take a look at this article from The Globe and Mail to learn more about the divide in opinion on the subject.

Featured image source: Next Avenue

Story source: The Globe and Mail, Vice

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Globe And Mail Polls The Canadian Population On Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization has obviously been a hot topic throughout Canada and we here at Legalite have remained diligent in covering it, particularly in recent weeks. The issue was a cornerstone of Justin Trudeau’s campaign for Prime Minister and basically secured him the youth vote, so he kind of has to follow through if he wants to have any credibility. To his credit, the wheels seem to be very much in motion at the moment and, while it still may take a while to iron out all the details, weed should be a-ok legally within the next few years.

So what does the general population think about all this right now? A new poll from the Globe and Mail and Nanos Research aimed to find out, with the results being fairly typical of how liberal Canadians have become in response to the Harper era. Here were some of the findings:

  • 68% of the population support or somewhat support marijuana legalization.
  • 30% of the population oppose or somewhat oppose marijuana legalization.
  • British Columbia had the highest degree of support with 75% while the Prairies had the lowest with 55%.
  • 51% are concerned that legalization will lead to increased drug use by people under 21; 45% do not think this.
  • 57% don’t believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, while 40% think it is.
  • 44% want marijuana to be sold at dedicated dispensaries for the drug, while pharmacies were at 43% and liquor stores were at 36% (more than one answer were allowed for this)
  • 49% want legalized marijuana to be homegrown while 48% do not.

So while there was always going to be some naysayers, it’s pretty apparent that a majority of the population is now in favour of legalization. Although it’s bizarre how many people think that it will lead to increased drug use among minors, as if the way things are now is stopping kids from getting high. And if I were a parent, I would be more concerned about my kid getting drunk while underage anyway.

Source: Globe and Mail

Image source: CBC

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Federal Judge allows Medical Marijuana users to grow pot

On Wednesday, February 24 in Vancouver, Federal Judge, Michael Phelan, struck down the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations that restricted medical marijuana patients from growing their own marijuana.

Judge Phelan ruled that the regulations “were an infringement on charter rights and declared they have no force and effect.” However, he suspended his ruling for six months for the federal government to determine new rules. He also made sure to point out that this new ruling doesn’t change other laws that make it illegal for Canadians to use or grow pot recreationally.

The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations was introduced in 2013 by the Conservative Government. Under it, medical marijuana patients were required to buy cannabis from licenses producers instead of growing their own. Neil Allard and three other British Columbia residents challenged this regulation, stating it violated their charter rights.

While this new ruling is a definite victory for medical marijuana users, there are still some limitations. For one, it only applies to about 28,000 Canadian who already had the proper licenses at the time of the injunction. Lawyer John Conroy, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, stated that there are thousands of other medical marijuana users not covered by the original injunction and they will have to wait six months before they can start legally growing their own cannabis. He also said that if someone had to change the address of their production site, their possession license is no longer valid with Health Canada and warns users with licenses to ensure that they’re up-to-date.

Read more about this case, the new ruling, and Judge Phelan’s decision on the CBC News website.

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Marijuana Legalization is Already Creating Chaos in Canada

Justin Trudeaus Liberal Government

Canada is on the path to legalized marijuana, thanks to the Liberal government led by the much-adored Justin Trudeau. And yet, the nation is already in a state of confusion over marijuana legalization.

Officiated in a public mandate letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Trudeau stated that the government will work towards creating “a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

Even though the Prime Minister of Canada is on board with the legalize marijuana train and the government plans to begin a consultation process on the topic in the coming months, nothing has truly changed.

Marijuana is still technically illegal in Canada, but given the Prime Minsters words and the publicized stance of the government on marijuana legalization, something of a legal grey zone has been created, at least in the eyes of certain citizens.

Cannabis shops are popping up at a new-found rate, with many actively selling marijuana to patrons who don’t necessarily have a medical license.

Weedz Glass & Gifts, a head shop based in B.C., which has recently expanded to Ontario with Quebec on the horizon, is probably the largest perpetrator of such actions. The store has been known to sell to those without a medical license, and even minors, which has raised a bunch of red flags.

Don Briere, owner and operator of the franchise doesn’t really understand what the problem is. In his view, since the government is already working towards legalizing marijuana, then there isn’t anything illegal with what his stores are doing.

Some Canadians agree and are already beginning to grow and sell their own marijuana, believing the practice to be entirely on the level.

President of the Canadian Police Association, Tom Stamatakis, has experienced this first hand. When interviewed by the Globe & Mail, Stamatakis related how there are “citizens who are convinced or have allowed themselves to be convinced that marijuana is now legal and it’s okay to not only use it, but to manufacture and sell it.”

But in actuality, this legal “grey zone” doesn’t exist. The Canadian Criminal Code remains unchanged, and until the Liberal government actually enacts any changes, marijuana is still illegal.

Despite all of this confusion, however, the Liberal government doesn’t feel the need to rush themselves. Liberal representatives have gone on the record to state that the party will take all the time necessary to ensure the legalization process is done correctly. They were sure to note that all existing laws are still enforced, regardless of what may happen in the future.

And yet, even when the consultation process held between the federal and provincial governments on marijuana legalization is done, the mechanics of enforcing whatever decisions are made will be even more difficult to hammer out.

Provinces, and even municipalities, may have starkly varying approaches on marijuana laws, which could create more confusion for both political leaders and citizens alike.

So while things are a bit chaotic and confusing now, Canada is probably in for much of the same as the nation heads into the age of legalized marijuana.

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How Canada’s Marijuana Laws Could Change Under Justin Trudeau

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most controversial party platforms was the legalization of marijuana. Now that Trudeau is officially in power, many are wondering how the new leader of the nation will actually go about making cannabis in Canada entirely legal.

While it is impossible to predict exactly what the Prime Minister and his cabinet will propose, based on previous statements and existing structures in other nations, one can paint a picture of just how Canada’s marijuana laws may change in the coming years.

Perhaps the best example of what Canada with legalized marijuana could look like is the state of Colorado. Trudeau has stated several times how he may be inspired by the “Colorado model” when creating the nation’s new stance on cannabis, a system that doesn’t require any official permission to carry, purchase, or grow marijuana.

In Colorado, as long as an individual is over 21 years of age, they can have up to one ounce or marijuana or THC-products on themselves at any time. This regulation applies to non-citizens as well. Growing cannabis is also acceptable, with a limit of six marijuana plants per person, with a total of 12 per residence.

Prohibited under the Colorado model is the smoking of marijuana in any public spaces, much like cigarettes, as is “driving under the influence.” Anyone caught with THC in their system while driving, or with an open cannabis container, can be pulled over and charged.

What will likely be quite different in Canada is how marijuana is sold to citizens. In all likelihood, this will vary per province, much like how alcohol is regulated now. Of course, provincial governments will need to decide if a Crown corporation will be set up to regulate the sale of marijuana, which could result in vastly different approaches throughout Canada.

No matter how Trudeau and Canada’s provincial leaders go about the legalization of marijuana, one guarantee is the taxation of cannabis. The Canadian government will not be passing on the chance to create a form of revenue from a regulated substance; a tax on marijuana is perhaps the only definite reality when it comes to Cannabis in Canada.

Featured image courtesy of: Wikimedia

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Canada Could See Legalization Of Marijuana Under Trudeau

Justin Trudeaus Libera

Could marijuana be legalized in Canada under Justin Trudeau’s leadership? Some legal experts think yes.

Trudeau’s government made a pledge to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana.” With his win in the election last month, many are now expecting to see changes surrounding the legality of marijuana usage.

The loosening of restrictions surrounding marijuana laws in the United States — as well as other countries around the world — could increase the likelihood of Trudeau’s government following suit. Other jurisdictions that have changed their marijuana laws could serve as a model for success, and provide an example for the how the Liberal government can implement similar marijuana laws in Canada.

In Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, Washington and Washington D.C, recreational marijuana use is legal.

On November 4, Trudeau will name his cabinet, with the new justice minister likely to become responsible for overseeing the party’s reforms. The Liberals had pledged to form a federal-provincial task force. According to their platform, after hearing from experts in public health, substance abuse and law enforcement, the task force would create a system of marijuana sales and distribution, with federal and provincial taxes applied.

Bevor he was elected, Trudeau said his government would learn from how jurisdictions have legalized marijuana — taking note of what has worked and what hasn’t — and work with individual provinces to create the best system going forward.

 Some legal experts claim it could take only a year for the country to see new marijuana laws come into effect. Others, however, aren’t so sure: it could be a lengthy process to understand what kind of issues have arisen in jurisdictions such as Colorado and Washington after marijuana was legalized, and how to prevent them in the future.
Moreover, how much revenue both the federal and provincial government could gain from the legalization of marijuana remains to be seen. In their four-year projections in their election platform, the Liberals did not account for any revenue from marijuana taxes. While not discounting the possibility for revenue upon marijuana’s legalization, Trudeau had explained he wasn’t sure the rate that the government wanted to tax marijuana, and when exactly it would be legalized.
For more on this story, visit The Toronto Star.
Featured image source: CBC
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Supreme Court Legalizes Consumption of Medical Marijuana

The highest court in Canada recently broadened the definition of medical marijuana, unanimously ruling that it can now be consumed by patients in forms such as pills, brownies, teas and oils. Previously, medical marijuana patients were restricted to using marijuana in a “dried” form.

The ruling comes from the federal government’s case against  Owen Smith, a baker for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club who was arrested in 2009.  Smith was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana after he was found with over 200 marijuana cookies for the club.

But a British Columbia judge acquitted Smith, ruling that the law he was charged under is unconstitutional and violated Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. A B.C. Appeal Court affirmed this ruling, maintaining that a person cannot be convicted under an unconstitutional law.

While the federal government had appealed that ruling, the Supreme Court’s decision affirms Smith’s acquittal.

Not everyone is pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling, though: in a press conference, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she was “outraged” at the decision.

She stressed that Health Canada is the only body who can “make a drug into a medicine,” and highlighted the need for Health Canada to put marijuana through its regulatory approval process, consisting of a safety review and clinical trials.

For more on this story, click here.

Featured image source: Associated Press

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