On Tuesday, recreational cannabis use was approved by the Senate in Canada following a 52-29 vote in favor of fully legalizing cannabis. The Canadian government had originally planned to implement legalization by July 2018, provinces and territories, who will be responsible for drafting their own rules for cannabis sales, have advised that they would need eight to 12 weeks after the Senate approval to transition to the new framework. They are expected to choose a date by early or mid September.
Canada is the first G7 nation, and the second in the world, to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide. The Cannabis Act, known as Bill C-45, comes from a campaign pledge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made to keep cannabis away from underage users and to reduce related crime. “It’s been too easy for our kids to get cannabis – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate cannabis just passed the Senate,” Trudeau said in a tweet.
The bill as first introduced back in April of last year, and was passed in the House of Commons later in the year in November. Receiving approval from the Senate was the final step in the process to have cannabis fully legalized. Uruguay was the first country to legalize cannabis for production, sale, and consumption in December 2013.
While production of cannabis is regulated by the federal government, provinces and cities have more powers over retail sales either through private or government-owned stores.
Even though the federal government will be regulating the production of cannabis, provinces and cities will have more power over retail sales either through private or government-owned stores.
The justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, also applauded the vote, saying in a tweet,
“#C-45 has passed the senate – this is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada. This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”
When the bill goes in effect, adults will be able to carry up to 30 grams of legal cannabis publicly and will also be allowed to cultivate up to four plant in their households and prepare products such as edibles for personal use. The bill has placed an age restriction on buying cannabis, requiring consumers to be at least 18 years of age before being allowed to legally purchase.