Leaders in Canada's Liberal government next month will reportedly announce that marijuana will be legalized across the country by July of 2018, according to a report published Sunday.
The move comes on the recommendation of a task force headed by a former justice minister and a Toronto police chief, who briefed lawmakers over the weekend on how to handle rolling out the legalization process, the CBC reported Sunday. The plan will be announced in mid-April.
The legalization comes with some regulations.
While the federal government has set the minimum age for marijuana use at 18, and will oversee its safety, provinces will have control over how the drug is sold — for example, they have the right to impose an older age restriction. Additionally, those who want to grow their own marijuana will be limited to growing four plants at a time.
Legalizing marijuana has been a priority of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal Party promised to "legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana" in order to keep drugs "out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals."
Trudeau's plan to legalize marijuana has been met with criticism in his own government by both those who oppose legalization and those who don't think it's possible.
"I do not believe Justin Trudeau is going to bring in the legalization of marijuana," B.C. MP Peter Julian told the CBC. "[W]e are still seeing, particularly young, Canadians being criminalized by simple possession of marijuana." Trudeau has said that until legalization, the current Canadian laws apply.
Canada's move comes as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to re-wage the war on weed after several states in recent years have legalized it for medical or recreational uses, or decriminalized its use and possession.
"I don't think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot," Sessions said to reporters last month. "I believe it's an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we're seeing real violence around that."
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