Canada legalizes marijuana after Senate approval

Canada legalizes marijuana after Senate approval
Canada is the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana. (File image via Canadian Press)

Ottawa — The Senate voted 52-29 in favour of the federal government’s historic bill to pass legal recreational sale of marijuana on Tuesday evening.

The Senate approval for the bill brings to an end a ninety-year prohibition of marijuana in Canada.

This paves the way for Canada to be the first G7 nation and second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. Provinces will be in charge of drafting their own rules for marijuana sales, which may require an additional eight to twelve weeks.

The legislation was first proposed in April of 2017 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government and then later passed by the House of Commons in November 2017. The Senate passing was the final hurdle in the process before nation-wide legalization.

“I’m feeling just great,” said Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government.”

“Now we can start to tackle some of the harms of cannabis. We can start to be proactive in public education. We’ll see the end of criminalization and we can start addressing Canada’s $7-billion illegal market. These are good things for Canada.”

The Senate and the House went back and forth with the bill for months. Initially, the legalization date was set to be in July 2018, in time for Canada Day celebrations.

The Senate had recommended forty-six amendments to the Cannabis Act. The Liberal government rejected thirteen of those proposed changes last week — including one that would have affirmed the provinces’ right to ban home-growing of marijuana.

Even after legalization, stringent rules will still be enforced.

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