Ottawa wants young teens to avoid criminal record for pot possession

By on April 17, 2017


The federal government wants to ensure younger teens don't wind up with a criminal record for pot possession. (Photo: Brandon Long/Flickr)
The federal government wants to ensure younger teens don’t wind up with a criminal record for pot possession. (Photo: Brandon Long/Flickr)

OTTAWA — The federal government wants to ensure younger teens don’t wind up with a criminal record for pot possession.

Currently people between 12 and 17 can be charged for having any amount of marijuana.

Newly tabled legislation proposes that people under age 18 would not face criminal prosecution for possessing or sharing up to five grams.

Bill Blair, a Liberal MP working with federal ministers on the legislation, says the ultimate goal is to give provinces and territories flexibility to prohibit possession of any amount of cannabis, with the option to introduce non-criminal sanctions for having a small amount.

He tells The Canadian Press provinces could bring in a regulatory ticketing system — much like the one in Ontario for those under 19 caught purchasing, possessing or drinking alcohol.

The changes are among the many issues Ottawa and the provinces need to iron out before marijuana is legalized next year.