BY ROB GILLIES
TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s government said Tuesday it would study a federal task force’s recommendation that Canadians over 18 years old be allowed to buy marijuana for recreational purposes and would announce new laws in the spring that would legalize pot.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. If passed, Canada would be the largest developed country to end prohibition of recreational marijuana. Voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted Nov. 8 to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, where it had previously been legalized.
The marijuana task force report, headed by former Canadian Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan, recommended that adults could carry to 30 grams for recreational purpose and grow up to four plants. It also recommended that that higher-potency pot be taxed at a higher rate than weaker strains. And said recreational marijuana should not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Under the proposals, alcohol-free cannabis lounges would be allowed.
Trudeau said they plan to control and regulate the sale so that they keep it out of the hands of kids and so that they are able to remove a significant source of revenue for criminal organizations and street gangs.
“Until we change the law the law stands,” Trudeau said.
McLellan said they travelled to Colorado and Washington and spoke to government officials in Uruguay to hear directly from those who have enacted policies to legalize pot.
“We are only the second nation to move forward in this way,” McLellan said. She urged the Canadian government to use caution.
Colorado now allows adults 21 and over to have up to an ounce of marijuana, without needing a doctor’s recommendation for the drug. Colorado allows adults to grow up to six plants at home, and it requires the state to allow commercial sales.
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