OTTAWA: Canada’s Senate passed a bill Thursday legalizing recreational marijuana, moving it closer to becoming the first member of the Group of Seven nations to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the drug, reports AFP.
Bill C-45, or the Cannabis Act, passed the Senate with 52 votes for, 30 against and one abstention after months of debate over the ramifications of legalization.The Cannabis Act will now go back to the House of Commons, which passed the bill in November 2017 but needs to sign off on changes made by the Senate.
Legalizing weed was a 2015 campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has admitted having smoked a joint with friends “five or six times.”
The initial timeline for legal pot sales called for it to be available by July 1, Canada’s national day, but fall now appears more likely.
It would then be up to Canada’s provinces and territories to set up distribution networks and enforcement.
The sale of medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.
Bill C-45 would allow individuals over the age of 18 to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana for personal use.Sales to anyone under 18 would be banned under federal law but provinces and territories could set their own age limits.