OTTAWA, Ontario – Oh, Canada! Now you’ve done it.
The Canadian Senate passed Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, by a margin of 52-29, making Canada the second country and the first G7 member to legalize recreational weed nationwide. The bill was passed by the House of Commons last November.
The Senate vote was the final obstacle before legalization could become official.
Legalizing cannabis was a major part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 campaign. Trudeau has admitted to past cannabis use but has cited other reasons for seeking legalization. On the campaign trail, he said regulation could help keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and would cripple the black market.
“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” Trudeau tweeted after the vote.
Itâ€™s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 20, 2018
Canadian Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould also was pleased with the Senate’s vote.
“This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada,” she tweeted. “This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”
#C45 has passed the Senate – this is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada as we shift our approach to cannabis. This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/guaWrS1kHG
— Jody Wilson-Raybould (@Puglaas) June 19, 2018
Recreational sales originally were expected to begin in July, but individual provinces will need a few months to implement the new regulations. Trudeau said he expects the program to be operational nationwide by October 17.
The new regulations will permit Canadian adults age 18 and older to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis. Adults also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants and can create their own edible products. The Canadian government is expected to introduce new rules regarding impaired driving.
Legalized cannabis is expected to be a major economic stimulator and job creator for Canada.
Recreational cannabis use has been legal nationwide in Uruguay since 2013. In the U.S., nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational weed. Thirty U.S. states allow medical use.