Canada Passes Historic Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Bill Blair

Bill Blair

The federal government's bill to legalize recreational cannabis is on its way back to the Senate.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said the provinces will need two to three months after the bill is passed before they'll be ready to implement the new legalized cannabis regime.

Trudeau's cabinet was set to decide an official legalization date in early or mid-September.

Canada is the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide.

Each province in Canada is coming up with rules for the sale of recreational pot.

With senators bowing to the will of the elected House of Commons on that issue, that cleared the way for them to finally pass Bill C-45.

"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".

Quebec and Manitoba have already chose to ban home-grown pot, even though the bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.

However, Dean and other senators stressed that the government is taking a very cautious, prudent approach to this historic change.

The Senate's amendment was meant to head off any legal challenges to the provinces' constitutional authority to prohibit home cultivation.

The government accepted 27 other largely technical amendments made by the Senate and tweaked two others. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed and sold.

Legalization has already been delayed from the government's initially planned July launch. Legalisation could create a market worth C$7.2 billion ($7.8 billion) and investor anticipation has already created several companies such as Aurora Cannabis with market values of more than C$1 billion.

He said it was time for the government to "embrace a decisive change", adding: "Can British Conservatives be as bold as Canadian Liberals?"

But Leonard Saunders, an American immigration lawyer in Washington state, testified before a Senate committee that Canadians could be denied entry to the United States even after cannabis is legalized because it is still considered illegal at the federal level in the United States.

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