(Adds additional source, stock prices, background)
OTTAWA, April 10 The Canadian government will
introduce legislation this week to legalize marijuana for
recreational use, sources familiar with the matter said on
Monday, providing a road map that will be closely watched by
companies seeking to capitalize on the emerging market.
The Liberal government made legalizing recreational
marijuana part of its successful 2015 election campaign and had
said it would introduce legislation this spring. Authorities
have been battling a rise in illegal dispensaries, particularly
in Ontario and British Columbia.
The legislation will be introduced on Thursday, according to
one source. A second source said it would come this week. They
declined to be identified, citing the sensitivity of the
Spokesmen for the justice and health ministers declined to
Shares of marijuana producers rose after the news was widely
Canopy Growth Co was up 2.2 percent at C$10.44 for
a gain of more than 14 percent so far this year. Aphria Inc
rose 5.9 percent to C$8.38, and Organigram Holdings
jumped 11.7 percent to C$3.45.
Although some U.S. states have legalized recreational
marijuana use, including Colorado and Washington, Canada was on
track to be the first Group of Seven country to legalize it
Medical marijuana is already legal in Canada through a mail
order system that requires a prescription. Deloitte has
estimated that annual sales of recreational marijuana could be
as high as C$8.7 billion ($6.52 billion).
The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that the legislation
is expected to control the ability of producers to market their
An official panel recommended late last year that the
government require plain packaging, and that provinces be
allowed to decide how cannabis is sold.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr and David Ljunggren; Editing by