Justice

Canada Announces Plans for Legalization on 4/20

April 20th 2016

By:
Kyle Jaeger

Canada plans to introduce legislation to legalize marijuana in the spring of 2017, a federal official announced on Wednesday, which also happens to be 4/20 (nice).

Canada's Minister of Health Jane Philpott disclosed details about Canada's marijuana reform efforts during the United Nations special session on international drug policy, a three-day conference of foreign leaders that's being held in New York.

"Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative and compassionate," Philpott said. "It must protect human rights while promoting shared responsibility, and it must have a firm scientific foundation."

International treaties prohibit countries from legalizing marijuana.

woman-smoking-marijuana-in-a-park

As it stands, UN member states that legalize marijuana would be violating international drug treaties. But so far there has been little pushback from the international community as Canada, the U.S., and other countries have permitted states and provinces to experiment with legalization, VICE News reports.

Philpott recognized that nationwide legalization in Canada "challenges the status quo in many countries," but said that marijuana reform is part of the country's ongoing efforts to "modernize" its drug policy, which emphasizes treatment and harm reduction for drug users rather than punishment.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize marijuana, but specific details about the country's implementation of a legal cannabis system have been hard to come by since he was elected in 2015.

Meanwhile, pro-marijuana advocates are gathering on the grounds of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, for an annual demonstration calling for legalization. Now, at least, they have something to celebrate.

Parliament Hill

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