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Oct 17, 2018: Canada due to legalize recreational marijuana

CANADA - The Canadian government had planned to legalize recreational marijuana by July, but the provinces have failed to resolve questions about regulating and taxing the drug, and the change is now confirmed for Oct 17.

Canada is the second country, after Uruguay, to legalize the drug at the national level.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced plans to legalize the drug in Apr 2017, rebuffed provincial leaders who said they need more time. “We gave everybody lots of time,” he said in Ottawa in an interview reported by CBC. “We’ve been working for a long time with all the provinces, with the municipalities. . . . It’s time for us to move forward on this.”

Some debate centered on how best to tax the legal pot industry. CBC reports that there was preliminary agreement that the tax should stay low to ensure the regulated market squeezes out the illegal activity. The challenge was identifying the sweet spot, according to the Canadian broadcaster, where pot prices are high enough to cover government costs but cheap enough to beat out the black market.

Other hurdles included deciding how tax revenues would be shared between provinces and the federal government.

#22390 Published: 07/14/2018

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