Holding true to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise last October, the Liberal Canadian government has announced today—on the coveted stoner holiday of 4/20—that it will begin the marijuana legalization process next spring.
At a speech to the United Nations, Health Minister Jane Philpott said that the government will introduce legislation in spring 2017, and the move will "challenge the status quo" of many countries' drug policies, according to the Canadian Press. Philpott gave no firm details on the bill itself, but she said that the Liberals will be approaching legalization from a scientific and evidence-based perspective. She made note that the legalization of marijuana would likely bring a reduction in drug-related crime and the use of more serious substances. Philpott cited a story that touched her involving a mother who lost her daughter to substance abuse and added that more access to treatment and services for users of drugs needs to be available. The statement echoes the Liberals move to authorize more safe injection sites across the country, which experts say is critical to address the seriousness of Canada's opioid crisis. Despite a move toward legalization, crackdowns on dispensaries and pot activists will continue. Rallies against law enforcement of marijuana production and possession are planned in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver today. Follow Jake on Twitter.