Legalize mail order, storefront pot sales to 18 and older: pot report

Ottawa – A federal task force on legalized recreational marijuana is recommending storefront and mail-order sales to Canadians 18 years and older, with personal growing limits of four plants per person.

The framework report, headed by former federal Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, says recreational marijuana should not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco, and that production should be monitored with a “seed-to-sale tracking system” to prevent diversions to the black market.

The study gives shape to a Liberal promise to legalize recreational pot use and sales, with safeguards in place to restrict youth access and choke off the illicit market that fuels criminal enterprises.

The 106-page framework covers everything from advertising and branding – effectively banned, similar to tobacco – to penalties for illicit production and trafficking, all legislated under a proposed new Cannabis Control Act.

It recommends that higher-potency pot be taxed at a higher rate than weaker strains, while limiting personal possession to no more than 30 grams and allowing for what the report calls “social sharing.”

On the issue of pot-impaired driving, the task force recommends more study to determine links between THC levels and traffic crashes, while also developing a national education strategy to stress that cannabis causes impairment.

Under the proposals, alcohol-free cannabis lounges and “tasting rooms” would be allowed, but regulated to limit the density of cannabis storefront operations and keep them away from schools, community centres and public parks.

The report says wholesale distribution and retail operations should be regulated by the provinces and territories, in close collaboration with municipalities.

The Canadian Press

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