Canada's Liberal government on Thursday introduced long-awaited legislation to legalize marijuana by July 2018, taking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau one step closer to fulfilling a key campaign promise.
The two bills, if passed, will allow people to possess up to 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis, CBC reported. Consumers will be permitted to grow up to four plants themselves, or purchase marijuana from licensed retailers.
The legislation also includes harsh penalties of up to 14 years in jail for illegally selling or distributing marijuana, or giving it to minors. Offenders can also receive up to 14 years in jail for using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offense.
The bills stipulate that consumers be a minimum age of 18 to purchase marijuana, but provinces are permitted to raise that age if desired.
The legislation was shaped by recommendations laid out by a federal task force, which has attracted significant public support. The legislation is expected to be passed through Parliament as parties both to the right and left of Trudeau's Liberal government have signaled support.
Provinces and territories are expected to heavily scrutinize the legislation over the coming months to sort out details around distribution and law enforcement, the Canadian press reported.
Trudeau has stated in the past that the legislation's goal is to cut off minors' access to marijuana and eliminate the profit to organized crime, according to CBC.
If passed, Canada's legislation will make the country the first of the G7 members to legalize nationwide recreational use.
Jeremy Berke contributed to this report.
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