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What We Don’t Know About Marijuana Legalization in Canada

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Canada is quickly inching toward the legalization of marijuana. Wilson-Raybould (Justice Minister) announced on August 25, 2016 the launch of a new task force to advise the Canadian government on how to best plan its plans to legalize cannabis.

The Liberals have been quite blunt on what new laws will look like for the average pot-friendly Canadian, so there are hopes that this new task force will paint a better picture of what the future will hold. Legally speaking, this task force is just pitching ideas, meaning the Liberals could go against their judgment.

Immediately after the announcement, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Wilson-Raybould answered a series of questions about what the legislation will look like. In short, the only things we truly learned as certain is that decriminalization will not be in effect during these proceedings and that the task force consists of 9 members. 5 of these members will be doctors, signaling a focus on health benefits of marijuana, but we don’t know who will be on the task force quite yet.

When will the panel’s findings go public?

The panel will be required to report to the government on their findings before November and legislation will be introduced sometime spring 2017.

Will we be able to grow our own plants at home?

Unlikely. Toronto’s former chief of police has said that keeping organized crime outside of marijuana trade is a top priority, so the panel is developing a regulatory framework to control the production and distribution of cannabis.

How old will we have to be to purchase marijuana?

Keeping the drug out of children’s hands has been emphasized, so 18 is likely to be the minimum age to buy pot. This may vary province to province, much like the sale of alcohol however.

How much marijuana can we buy?

Putting a hard limit on the amount of marijuana sold in one transaction may lessen the chance marijuana will be sold to children illegally, claims various government officials. Truthfully, we have no idea what that will look like.

How much will marijuana be taxed?

Marijuana will definitely be taxed, but the percentage is a very tricky number to agree upon. It has to be low enough to dissuade buyers from buying marijuana from crime rings, but high enough to support the industry itself.

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