Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Canada legalizes marijuana nationwide after senate passes bill

Canada legalizes marijuana nationwide after senate passes bill

In a historic vote on Tuesday, the Senate approved Bill C-45.

Canada is to become only the second country to have a legal nationwide cannabis market after a landmark government bill was passed by the senate.

The federal government said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following Senate passage and royal assent to prepare for retail sales.

While the bill to legalize recreational use has officially passed the Senate, Canadians can not legally smoke or purchase marijuana as of now.

Blair also addressed the question of amnesty for Canadians who have criminal records involving possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Canada is set to become the first G7 nation to legalise recreational marijuana after a bill from Justin Trudeau's government won the backing of the upper chamber.

It is expected the date of implementation will be sometime in September to allow for the provinces, territories, municipalities, police forces, and other stakeholders to make sure their piece of the pot pie is operating in accordance with the new rules.

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After more than a year of intensive study in both the House and Senate, the bill cleared the final legislative hurdle Tuesday evening, passing by a vote of 52 to 29 with two abstentions.

Vancouver, where the use of cannabis is legal for medicinal use, has a large number of marijuana stores, largely due to its closeness in proximity to Washington, an American state in which cannabis has been legal for a number of years. Canadian adults (the minimum age varies by province) will be able to carry up to 30 grams, with stiff new penalties for providing the drug to minors. Marijuana will also not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.

"This is a historic milestone for our industry and for our Canada solidifies its progressive leadership on cannabis", Vic Neufeld, chief executive officer of Aphria said in an e-mailed statement.

Conservative senators also raised other concerns, such as slower US border crossings, that kept the bill in the upper house for about seven months.

Advocates argued putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals. "The law still remains the law", Canada's Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said, according to the CBC. "A fearless move on the part of the government", he said, according to CBC.

"With cannabis legislation, Canadians are ready for us to move forward", Harder told the Senate, predicting that "there may come a day, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, when we remember prohibition as absurd". "We applaud Canada for showing federal legislators in the United States what can be accomplished with true leadership and dedication to sound public policy", he said. "These are good things for Canada". "We would like to commend the fearless advocates who spent years building momentum for all Canadians who participated in turning an idea into reality, this is your moment to celebrate". "Our plan to legalise & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate", Mr Trudeau tweeted. "It leaves behind a failed model of prohibition, a model that has made organized crime rich and left our young people vulnerable".

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