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Canadians As Young As 18 Could Soon Be Legally Buying Pot

People should be limited to four plants at home and 30 grams in public, a government task force's report says.

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A special task force convened by the Canadian government recommends legalizing marijuana for anyone over 18.

Lars Hagberg / AFP / Getty Images

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, which has been studying the impact of legalization for months, released its final report on Tuesday. It recommends:

* Setting a national minimum age of 18, but giving provinces and territories the ability to match their legal age for alcohol, which is 19 in most provinces.

* Placing severe restrictions on pot advertising, matching the strict rules for tobacco promotion.

* Limiting people to 30 grams of cannabis for personal use in public.

* Limiting people who grow their own weed to four pot plants.

Legalization was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s biggest campaign promises during the 2015 federal election.

The task force, which was chaired by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, said it looked at other jurisdictions where pot has been legalized in order to learn from their experiences. Even so, Canada will be charting its own path.

"We are the largest developed country to move on legalization," McLellan said.

The Canadian Medical Association had recommended setting the minimum age for pot sales at 21.

The task force acknowledged concerns that early pot use will have negative cognitive effects since the human brain is not fully developed until age 25. But a higher legal age "will likely drive users into the illicit market, continue to criminalize cannabis possession, and burden the courts," the task force report says.

Marc Emery, the legalization activist known as the "prince of pot," said he found the report encouraging.

Never thought I'd hear Anne McLellan say anything I agreed with. Was overall very encouraged by the Legalization Task Force summary.

Many activists have worried that Trudeau would back away from his legalization pledge, or bring in a restrictive system that would crowd out small pot shops in favour of industrial growers. Local police forces have also continued raiding and shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries and compassion clubs.

The task force report, however, urges the federal government to foster "a diverse, competitive market that also includes small producers."

Although the task force was a key part of the Liberal party's legalization plan, the federal government can adopt any, all, or none of the recommendations.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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