Canada to legalize marijuana in October


Associated Press

TORONTO

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday marijuana will be legal nationwide Oct. 17.

Trudeau said in Parliament that the government is committed to better protecting Canada’s youth and hopes to take money away from organized crime.

The Senate gave final passage to Trudeau’s bill to legalize cannabis Tuesday. The country will become the second in the world to make pot legal nationwide.

“The legislation is transformative,” said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, adding it “marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of prohibition.”

The federal government had said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following Senate passage and royal assent to prepare for retail sales. Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro said officials listened to the provinces that asked for more time to be able to prepare and implement the law.

“The law still remains the law,” Wilson-Raybould said. “I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force.”

Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up its own rules for pot sales. The federal government and the provinces also still need to publish regulations that will govern the cannabis trade.

Many questions remain unanswered, including how police will test motorists suspected of driving under the influence, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work.

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