In keeping with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promise of last fall, Canada's Health Minister, speaking at a United Nations General Assembly Special Session On Narcotic Drugs, announced that Canada will introduce a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis next year.
"We will introduce legislation in spring 2017," Jane Philpott told delegates.
The goal of legislation will be to keep cannabis out the hands of children and criminals, and Philpott said that despite the fact legalizing cannabis will "challenge the status quo" in many countries, the Canadian government does feel that legalization is the best approach to achieving this goal.
"Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative and compassionate. It must protect human rights while promoting shared responsibility and it must have a firm scientific foundation," Philpott said in her prepared speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
In her speech, Philpott also referenced a personal story she'd heard from a mother who lost a daughter to substance abuse.
"Stories like this are far too commonplace. Countless lives are cut short due to overdoses of licit and illicit substances. Today, I stand before you as Canada's minister of health to acknowledge that we must do better for our citizens, " said Minister Philpott