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Canada will try to legalize marijuana next year

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Canada is preparing to mount a serious effort to legalize marijuana, according to a speech made today by Canadian health minister Jane Philpott. Speaking at the United Nations, Philpott pledged to introduce legislation in the spring of 2017 that would legalize and regulate marijuana, while still keeping "marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals."

Legalization had been a central campaign promise of recently elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Still, efforts to change the legal status of marijuana had apparently stalled in the months since Trudeau's election, potentially because of the international treaties obligations involved. Canada already offers widespread support for medical use of marijuana, a compromise that has also taken hold in many US states.

Trudeau's liberal party holds a majority in the House of Commons, so the proposed legislation is likely to pass if given the Prime Minister's full support. A recent poll found that 65 percent of Canadians support decriminalization of marijuana, a number that has grown significantly in recent years.