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Feds look to establish cannabis tracking system in legalized regime

Feds hope to establish pot tracking system

Ottawa is looking to set up a cannabis tracking system to collect information about marijuana products from licensed producers, distributors and retailers — just one of a host of proposed changes to be ushered in alongside legalization.

Health Canada says the proposed system, which would not track individual cannabis users, would allow businesses and regulators to trace all products and address recalls.

The tracking would also help to ensure cannabis is not being diverted to illegal markets, the department said, given the government’s stated and oft-repeated goal of limiting organized crime’s footprint in the pot trade.

“Mandatory product track-and-trace systems are common features in other jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis for non-medical purposes,” the department said.

The specific requirements of the system still need to be developed, Health Canada added, noting similar systems are used in the U.S. to gather information about cannabis products.

The department did not say how much the proposed system would cost — only that it intends to offset such costs through licensing and other fees.

The government legislation did not offer any specifics on tax measures for marijuana, which was sure to be difficult to miss Thursday on Parliament Hill as aficionados gather to mark the annual April 20 pot celebrations known as 4-20. 

However, not everyone is cheering the government’s legalization efforts.

Alex Newcombe, a 31-year-old medicinal marijuana user, said he is incredibly disappointed by the Liberal legislation introduced last week.

“It is not anything other than prohibition 2.0,” Newcombe said, who is especially upset that the federal Liberals have not taken step to decriminalize the drug in the interim.

“(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) could decriminalize it at a moment’s notice,” he said. “He’s the one stopping it at the moment — we’re calling him out on it.”

The federal government has said repeatedly it has no plans to decriminalize marijuana until legalization is in place — a goal it hopes to achieve by July 2018.

—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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