North America

Canada sets date for legalisation of marijuana


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada from October 17.

Canada will legalise the consumption and cultivation of cannabis from October 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.

Both houses of parliament voted this week to legalise the drug for recreational use, making Canada the first G7 country to do so and the second in the world following Uruguay.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said she was "so proud" of the move.

"This historic legislation will end prohibition and replace it with a sensible, responsible and equitable cannabis policy," she tweeted.

Just prior to the announcement, the country's leading cannabis producers reported a surge in stocks - with market leader Canopy Grown jumping 1.7 per cent to Can$43.27 - following the Senate vote to legalize the soft drug.

In 2001, Canada authorised the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

Under the new legislation, adults - either 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory - can legally buy, grow and consume cannabis in limited amounts.

Each Canadian household will be allowed to grow up to four plants at home, and one person may carry up to 30 grams (one ounce) of the drug in public.

Trudeau, who in 2013 said he had smoked a joint with friends "five or six times," justified legalisation on the grounds that it would take traffickers out of the equation and protect young people.

In an interview with AFP last month, Trudeau said the world was closely following Canada's plans and predicted several nations would follow suit.

"There is a lot of interest from our allies in what we're doing," he said.

"They recognise that Canada is being daring... and recognize that the current regime (of prohibition) does not work, that it's not preventing young people from having easy access to cannabis."

The provinces will organise the legal sale of cannabis in licensed stores, sometimes in government-controlled liquor stores, according to the new law.

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