OTTAWA – Adults 18 and older will be able to legally buy and cultivate small amounts of marijuana for personal use, while selling the drug to a minor will become a serious new criminal offence under the federal Liberal government’s proposed new legal-pot regime.
A suite of legislation introduced Thursday would, once passed, establish a “strict legal framework” for the production, sale, distribution and possession of pot, and make it against the law to sell cannabis to youth or use a young person to commit a cannabis-related crime.
New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars.
“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference.
“Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world … we simply have to do better.”
The new law would allow adults 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public, share up to 30 grams of dried marijuana with other adults and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially regulated retailer.