Canada's Senate legalizes recreational marijuana


This announcement comes after a historic vote in the Senate Tuesday night to pass Bill C-45, the government's legislation to legalize cannabis.

Canadians will be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana by mid-September.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals had made legalizing recreational use of marijuana part of their successful 2015 election campaign, arguing the new law would keep pot out of the hands of underage users and reduce related crime.

Canada is now the second country in the world to legalize marijuana, paving the way for recreational marijuana sales throughout the country.

Trudeau said the government delayed the timetable for lifting the nearly century-old prohibition on marijuana at the request of larger provinces, including Quebec, which asked for more time to make the transition to a legal regime for regulating the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis. "I don't think it is of such importance to warrant an extraordinary intervention".

The Senate had asked for 40 amendments to the original bill, including one that would have allowed provinces to ban home cultivation.

Speaking on Parliament Hill, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also says the government is still working on companion legislation dealing with impaired driving, but driving under the influence of drugs has always been and will remain illegal.

It has followed the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province will work up its own rules for marijuana sales.

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But Dean countered that the Conservatives have been making the same argument since the bill landed in the Senate seven months ago, regardless of what they heard from expert witnesses. Today, we change that.

A vote in the country's Senate ended 52-29, with The Cannabis Act being passed.

The exact date for purchasing marijuana is not yet set, but it is anticipated that provinces will need time to establish the retail infrastructure.

The bill is expected to receive royal assent within days, but that, in itself, will not lift Canada's near-century-old cannabis prohibition.

The new law will control the growth, distribution and sale of the drug.

"The date that cannabis will become legal will be announced soon".

Many pro-legalization advocates are calling on "the take similar action and adopt a more rational federal marijuana policy", Tvert said.

Former Conservative leader William Hague angered the prime minister's office by writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that her government should legalize cannabis and create a regulated market for its sale.