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An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016.
The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the Jewish state, but for the past 10 years its therapeutic use has not only been permitted but also encouraged. Last year, doctors prescribed the herb to about 25,000 patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases. The purpose is not to cure them but to alleviate their symptoms. Forbidden to export its cannabis plants, Israel is concentrating instead on marketing its agronomic, medical and technological expertise in the hope of becoming a world hub in the field.
 / AFP / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016. The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the Jewish state, but for the past 10 years its therapeutic use has not only been permitted but also encouraged. Last year, doctors prescribed the herb to about 25,000 patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases. The purpose is not to cure them but to alleviate their symptoms. Forbidden to export its cannabis plants, Israel is concentrating instead on marketing its agronomic, medical and technological expertise in the hope of becoming a world hub in the field. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Canada unveils policy to legalize and regulate marijuana

The new policy requires Parliament approval, but was part of Trudeau's campaign

(CNN) —  

Will Canada be known for another kind of leaf – other than its iconic maple?

On Thursday, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled its plans to legalize recreational marijuana.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau endorsed marijuana legalization during his campaign.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau endorsed marijuana legalization during his campaign.

If the Cannabis Act passes Parliament, Canada would become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to regulate a legal marijuana market.

The government’s new policy had been expected for some time as Trudeau had endorsed legalizing marijuana on the campaign trail.

“It’s too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We’re going to change that,” according to a tweet from his official account.

The legislation “seeks to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis, and it will make Canada safer,” said Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, on Thursday.

Here are five things to know about Canada’s proposed marijuana policy, which officials hope to have in place by July 2018.

1. Government regulates marijuana sales

The Canadian government would create a system to regulate marijuana production, distribution and sale. It would also collect licensing fees and taxes on marijuana sales, which officials say takes profits away from criminals and organized crime.

“Criminals pocket between $7 and $8 billion in illicit proceeds. We simply have to do better,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Producing or distributing marijuana outside the government regulation would be considered serious offenses, officials said.

The federal government will provide minimum conditions, but the provinces could set more rules about distribution and sale on top of those.

But many issues remain for government officials to figure out, including how much to charge for marijuana, reported CNN’s partner CBC.

2. Adults can have marijuana and grow them too

Adults would be able to have up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public and be permitted to grow up to four plants per household.

Under the Cannabis Act, Canadians would be able to buy marijuana at legal retail outlets or receive them through a licensed producer in the mail.

However, marijuana will remain illegal until the new law is approved and goes into effect.

3. But kids and teens can’t have marijuana

Teens and minors under the age of 18, would be prohibited from having or buying marijuana. Canadian provinces can raise that minimum age higher if they’d like.

Authorities envision regulating marijuana like alcohol.

“By providing a highly regulated system of distribution, we can be much more successful as we have been with alcohol,” Blair said. “It’s not an absolute guarantee that kids won’t get access to it, but it will be far more difficult for kids to get access to it when this new regime is in place than it is today.”

Officials lamented that the current policy of banning marijuana hasn’t deterred kids from drug use. Despite about $2-6 billion spent by the Canadian police to deal with marijuana use, Canadian teens are among “the heaviest users in the Western world,” Goodale said.

“If your objective is to protect public health and safety, and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and stop the flow of illegal profits to organized crime, the law as it stands today, has been an abject failure,” Goodale said.

The new policy would create tougher criminal offenses for selling marijuana to a minor – punishable by as much as 14 years in prison.

4. No, you can’t drive while high

The bill would add new offenses prohibiting people from driving while they’re drunk or impaired by marijuana and other drugs.

It would create three new offenses and allow police to require saliva tests for drivers whom they suspect of being high, reported the CBC. A positive test could result to more testing including a blood test.

5. Don’t bring it over the border

Bringing marijuana across borders would remain a serious criminal offense – especially as marijuana laws differ depending on countries.

“Each country establishes its own rules,” Goodale said.

“The laws of the United States are the responsibilities of the United States. The laws of Canada are the responsibility of Canada.”

CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report.