Canadian senate clears cannabis legalisation

Thursday, 21 Jun, 2018

The law makes Canada the second country to have a nationwide, legal marijuana market, after Uruguay.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the decision tweeting, "It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits".

Canada has become the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide.

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.

October 17 will be the day that the major social policy change will come into force.

The Senate's amendment was meant to avoid legal challenges of the provinces' constitutional authority to prohibit home cultivation.

Speaking about Bill C-45 passing, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould cautioned Canadians that the current prohibition and laws about cannabis will remain in place until the date of implementation, and urged people to follow the law until then.

The federal law makes the sale and recreational use legal, but how it will be sold is up to provincial governments.

The bill passed by a 52 to 29 vote.

Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, leader of the independent group of senators, said C-45 was "a bit of a stress test" for the new, less partisan Senate.

Meantime, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who was also on hand for today's news conference, stopped short of announcing the date when the new law would go into effect.

"And therefore we do not want to encourage in any way people to engage in that behaviour until the law is changed".

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.

Conservative Senator Larry Smith chastised the government for "failing to educate" children about the dangers of cannabis use ahead of legalisation.

That year, the Dutch decriminalised the sale of small amounts of cannabis - less than five grams - and allowed each person to legally grow five plants for personal use.

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

Now that we have officially made it, and the biggest campaign promise from PM Justin Trudeau has been kept, we are waiting for an announcement from our PM to confirm exactly what we have already been told.

The capital, The Hague, banned cannabis from the city centre in April this year.