Woman consuming cannabis in a forest

The federal Liberals have set July, 2018 as the deadline to legalize recreational marijuana. Canada will become the 2nd country after Uruguay to legalize marijuana.

Sales of pot will be restricted to people 18 and older, although provinces will be able to set their own minimum age requirements. Provinces are also tasked with figuring out how to sell and regulate marijuana.

In Ontario for example, pot will be sold in stores run by a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Manitoba, meanwhile, wants to sell cannabis through private-sector retail outlets and online stores.

Under the new federal legislation, people of legal age will be allowed to publicly possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form.

The federal legislation proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will regulate cannabis production.

The federal government’s proposed law also permits adults to grow up to four marijuana plants at home, although Quebec announced Thursday it will not allow residents of the province to grow their own marijuana.

Enforcement

Federal and provincial governments are tightening the rules around impaired driving and bringing in a roadside saliva test to check for drug impairment.

The federal government is setting up systems to track all cannabis from seed to sale, to license non-medical producers and to test marijuana for potency and quality control. The federal government has already issued more than 70 licenses for producing medical marijuana, which has been legal in Canada since 2001.

MJIC Inc’s equal-weighted Canadian Marijuana Index, which tracks stocks of major legal cannabis companies, is up 28 per cent this year.

Marijuana stocks listed have surged since Oct. 30, when U.S. alcohol company Constellation Brands bought a nearly 10 per cent stake in Canopy for about C$245 million.

Taxes

A battle is brewing between the federal government and some provinces over how tax revenue is divided between the two levels of government.

The federal government said it wants an excise tax on all cannabis products of C$1 per gram, or 10 per cent of the retail price, whichever is higher.

The government proposed splitting the tax 50-50 with the provinces, drawing criticism from Ontario which says it will face higher costs related to enforcement and establishing a system for sales.

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