January 24, 2022

Canada to push for making sale marijuana legal

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_89361769_b95dc1eb-2be1-4d49-a713-0a543d266120 _89361765_79148557-7958-4afd-b79b-e898814399feFrom BBC

The Canadian government will introduce legislation next year that would make the sale of marijuana legal, its health minister has said.

If enacted, the move would make Canada one of the largest Western countries to allow widespread use of the drug.

Health Minister Jane Philpott pledged on Wednesday to keep marijuana “out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for legalisation during his campaign.

The announcement coincided with 20 April – an unofficial holiday among cannabis advocates. Hundreds of marijuana users demonstrated outside Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Medical use of marijuana is already legal in Canada. Some have argued that legal marijuana would reduce stress on Canada’s criminal justice system.

“We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” Ms Philpott said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”

However, Gerard Deltell, a legislator from Canada’s opposition Conservatives, opposes the change, saying it would harm Canadians’ health.

“That’s one of the worst things you can do to Canadian youth – to open the door to marijuana,” he told Reuters news agency.

Mr Trudeau has named Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief, as the government’s point person on legalisation.

“We control who it’s sold to, when it’s sold and how it’s used,” Mr Blair said likening marijuana to how alcohol is regulated. “And organised crime doesn’t have the opportunity to profit from it.”

He stressed that marijuana would remain illegal in Canada while legislation is being discussed.

Ms Philpott said the exact details of the legislation are still being worked out.

In the US, voters in four states plus the District of Columbia have already legalised the recreational use of the drug in ballot initiatives.

In other parts of the US, however, the drug remains illegal.


Supporters of legal marijuana smoked outside of Parliament Hill in Ottawa Reuters

The Canadian Parliament is expected to take up the legislation in the spring of 2017Image copyright AFP Image caption

For more on this story go to: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36097561


Related story:

Pot Advocates Press for Decriminalization in the Caribbean

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 1.46.31 PMFrom telesur

On April 20th, or “Weed Day,” Caribbean cannabis advocates callled on governments to push forward with the decriminalization of marijuana.

April 20th is celebrated annually by marijuana advocates who preach the benefits of cannabis — and in the Caribbean, it is the ideal day to ramp up the campaign for decriminalization.

While the 15 heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have set up a commission to address the medical use of marijuana, and the decriminalization of small quantities for recreational use, critics say the commission is dragging its feet.

Caribbean cannabis advocate Andrew Decaires believes is time for action, whch can start with educating the masses on the benefits of the herb.

“We have a lot of ignorant people,” Decaires told teleSUR. “They are highly qualified, have gone to university and they’re using biased opinions, propaganda and misinformation to come up with their opinions. The science is clear. This is a relatively safe substance as compared to tobacco and alcohol. We are promoting those two substances and people who are using them are not considered criminals.”
CARICOM leaders have said that that the decriminalization of marijuana must be viewed from a public health perspective.

Researcher and marijuana advocate Dr. Marcus Day, director of the Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute, said it is also an issue of economics.

“About 30,000 regular cannabis smokers in Saint Lucia, which would contribute about XCD$150,000 a day if every cannabis smoker smoked a joint (a ‘5-bag’). Incredible amount of money. So what are the economic benefits? What are the economic downsides of an eradication exercise, where they pull out 6,000 plants?”

Marijuana advocates point to Jamaica’s “enlightened” approach as a model. There, a new law makes possession of 2 ounces (56g) or less of cannabis an offense that will not result in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises is permitted and Rastafarians, who use marijuana as a sacrament, can also use it for religious purposes for the first time since the spiritual movement was founded in Jamaica in the 1930s.

According to advocates of reform, it is time for the rest of the Caribbean to catch up.

For more on this story go to:

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