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Alex Indigo

Canada Announces Plan to Decriminalize Cannabis by Spring 2017

The Canadian Liberal Party will introduce legislation to decriminalize and regulate recreational cannabis nationwide by the spring of 2017, Health Minister Jane Philpott announced on Wednesday at the U.N. General Assembly on international drug policy in New York.

According to a Reuters report, Philpott said Canada’s new marijuana laws would keep cannabis out of the hands of children and keep marijuana profits out of the hands of criminals. “We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” she said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”

Earlier this month, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said in an interview that the federal government was working to establish a task force that will figure out the best way to end cannabis prohibition. The task force would include representatives from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

Nationwide legalization was a major running platform for current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during last year’s election, though international drug laws made it unclear how and when Canada would be able to carry through on that promise. Mr. Trudeau warned earlier this year that undoing cannabis prohibition could be a long and complicated process, but it’s heartening to see the Liberal Party’s continued commitment to its promise of legalization.

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