Canada: We're Legalizing Pot
Government will introduce bill this time next year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2016 2:24 AM CDT
There are a lot of Canadians under that cloud of pot smoke.   (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Canadian government says the timing was just a coincidence, but they certainly made this year's 4/20 a day to remember for the country's pot smokers: Health Minister Jane Philpott announced in a speech to the United Nations that the government will introduce a recreational pot legalization bill next year to "keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals," the CBC reports. Philpott said the government will launch a task force to look at every aspect of legalization, including taxation. Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is the government's point man on legalization legislation, which will fulfill one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promises, reports Reuters. Medical marijuana is already legal across the country.

Clive Weighill, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, tells the Toronto Star that the move leaves police in a "gray zone" for the next year. "I've never in my career come up against a law that we know is imminently going to be changed and is causing this much consternation," says Weighill, who hopes his organization will be part of the task force designing the framework for legalization. Legalization advocates cheered the announcement, though it's not clear whether the news has reached Alberta-born Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong yet: "Happy 4/20 to everyone around the universe," he tweeted. "I got so high I daydreamed I was smoking with an alien." Click for more 4/20 news.