Toronto board of health votes in favour of decriminalizing marijuana now

Toronto's board of health supports the call to immediately decriminalize marijuana, a recommendation prompted to prevent more possession convictions leading up to pot's impending legalization.

On Monday, the board voted unanimously in favour of that decision, recommended by Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.

The federal government has set its sights on legalizing marijuana in Canada by July 2018.

But de Villa wrote that "a significant number of young Canadians will continue to obtain criminal charges before cannabis is legalized," in a report released on May 29.

Also among de Villa's recommendations are clamping down on how legal marijuana is marketed and promoted, especially when it comes to young people, and setting the minimum age of purchase at 19.

She also called for the establishment of a provincially-controlled agency separate from the LCBO to sell marijuana.

The board of health is composed of city council members, citizens, and an education representative, and provides advice to city council on a variety of public health issues.