New marijuana legislation to ensure youth don't end up with criminal record for possession

The federal government's marijuana legislation is meant to ensure younger teens don't wind up with criminal records for pot possession.

Currently, people between 12 and 17 can be charged for having any amount of marijuana, but the legislation tabled last week proposes that people under age 18 would not face criminal prosecution for possessing or sharing up to five grams.

Bill Blair, a Liberal M-P working with federal ministers on the legislation, says the ultimate goal is to give provinces and territories flexibility to prohibit young people from possessing any amount of cannabis.

But they would also have the option to introduce non-criminal sanctions for having a small amount.

He says provinces could bring in a ticketing system like the one in Ontario for those under 19 caught purchasing, possessing or drinking alcohol.

Possession charges, distribution, licensing and retail sales are among the many issues Ottawa and the provinces and territories need to iron out before marijuana is legalized next year.