Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he would work toward legalizing marijuana in the country during his campaign, possibly saw his popularity get higher Thursday when he introduced legislation legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in the country.

“We want to make it more difficult for kids to access marijuana. That is why we are going to legalize and control marijuana,” Trudeau said the day before his government introduced two bills on the issue, Canadian newspaper Toronto Star reported.

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The country aims to regulate the growth, import, export and sale of marijuana to keep cannabis away from underage users. Trudeau appointed Bill Blair, a lawmaker and former police chief of Toronto, to work on the legislation. At a press conference Thursday, Blair explained why legalizing marijuana is the way forward.

“Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and our communities,” Blair said, according to the New York Times.

canada marijuana Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (left) speaks during a news conference with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (center) and Health Minister Jane Philpott in Ottawa, Canada, April 13, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

The government’s plan, which is based on the findings of experts, still needs more work but is expected to kick off legal marijuana sales by mid-2018. Blair, however, added: “We do accept that important work remains to be done.”

This will make Canada the second country to fully legalize marijuana, after Uruguay, even as the drug remains illegal under the United States’ federal law. Canada legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1999, initially with strict controls, but the law was broadened over time.

Under the new bills, the growth of marijuana will be carried out under a license. Those looking to purchase pot will have to be at least 18 years of age and will only be allowed to carry about an ounce of marijuana at one time. A household may grow up to four marijuana plants, but the primary supply will be through commercial growers, closely regulated by the authorities.

Attempting to grow, procure, or use marijuana outside the legal framework will be a serious punishable offence, the government said.