Cannabis legalization just got real in Canada. Or at least it now has a timeline.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly’s special session on world drug policy this morning, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to introduce legalization legislation in the spring of 2017.
The government’s plan “ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals,” Philpott said. “While this plan challenges the status quo in many countries, we are convinced it is the best way to protect our youth while enhancing public safety.”
Philpott’s remarks came one day after Werner Sipp, head of the U.N.’s International Narcotics Control Board, opened the three-day special session with comments blasting adult use legalization. Sipp’s conference opener seemed to have little effect on the Canadian delegation.
“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” Philpott said. “Other countries and cultures will pursue approaches that differ from Canada’s,” she added, but if member nations respect different approaches and seek common ground, “we can achieve our objective: protecting our citizens.”
The U.N. conference continues through Thursday.