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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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Prime Minister’s Youth Council Gives Teens a Voice in Policy

Canadian Millennials will be given an opportunity to influence federal policy, thanks to a new initiative by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. During a Twitter question and answer session this week, Trudeau announced that he plans to create the Prime Minister’s Youth Council to help “shape the future of Canadian policy”.

Canadian teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 will be able to provide input on a variety of federal policies that address employment, climate change, building stronger communities, and education. The Prime Minister’s Youth Council will be non-partisan. Members will be selected based on certain criteria, including community involvement and leadership experience. Those selected can serve up to a two-year term and are expected to spend 10-20 hours a month on council-related activities. Meetings will also be held across the country and those on the council will be compensated for their time and travel expenses.

100 Canadians will be selected to be part of the council from an initial pool of 300 people. According to the government website, 100 candidates who have the highest scores in community involvement will be selected, 100 will be selected at random, and another 100 will be selected based on diversity indicators. These strategies are in place to ensure that those selected have a strong understanding of the issues and activities in their community, and to ensure that there’s a fair, broad, and diverse representation of Canadian youth. Online applications will be open from July 22 until August 12, 2016.

Speaking about this new initiative, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that he’s “looking forward to showing young people and showing all Canadians that young people’s voices and input matter deeply”. Trudeau received a lot of support from young voters, and new voters, including youth, were key to the Liberal victory this past election. Creating this council shows that Trudeau values the ideas and opinions of the large voter base that supported him and his campaign.

Take a look at the Prime Minister’s Youth Council website to learn more.

Story source: Toronto Star

Featured image source: Toronto Star

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Proposed Legislation Aims To Protect Transgender People

On Tuesday, Canada introduced legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination, and Prime Minister Trudeau stated that every Canadian should be able to live without stigma. This move was made based on a Liberal election campaign promise, and it was designed to give transgender people in Canada equal status.

During a statement aptly made on Tuesday, which was the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Trudeau said that all Canadian should feel safe and secure, with the ability to freely express themselves.

According to the proposed legislation, transgender people will have the right to use bathrooms that correspond to their chosen gender, and be treated according to that chosen gender, too.

The legislation is expected to pass in Parliament’s lower house, since the Liberals hold the majority, and they are expected to receive support from the other parties, too. This kind of legislation resonates across the border, where the U.S. is actively debating the use of bathrooms by transgender people.

In the past 10 years, the lower house of Parliament has passed legislation to protect the rights of transgender people twice. Each time, it was brought forward by the opposition’s lawmakers with a private members bill, and each time, the bills didn’t make it to a final vote in the upper chamber before the parliamentary session ended for the year.

Part of the reason why the bill never came to a final vote in the upper chamber is due to ammendments from Conservative Senator Don Plett, which suggested controlling which bathrooms transgender individuals could use in public places.

Hopefully, this new legislation and announcement will be a step in the right direction and ensure that transgender people can live without stigma.

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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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