Canadian Cannabis Legalization Bill Passes Senate Vote

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In a vote of 52-29, the Canadian Senate has passed the federal bill to legalize recreational cannabis. The move diminishes a 95-year prohibition to a 90-day time frame to allow the provinces to get ready to implement the new cannabis regulations. 

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Canada is the first G7, industrialized country to legalize marijuana but those with long histories in the industry are quick to remind us that the work isn’t over yet.

Edibles and concentrated forms of cannabis are still not legal. The same goes for cannabis lounges and using marijuana anywhere but at home. Patients and doctors want to see cannabis medicines protected from taxation. Citizens charged with non-violent marijuana crimes want clemency, while activists want to know they’re safe from future cannabis-related prosecution. And we’re all still waiting to find out if legal cannabis will, like McGruff the dog said, “take a bite out of crime”.

Will the product be dank enough? Will the pricing be reasonably sufficient to displace the black market? Only time will tell. 

The vote today happened on a motion from Sen. Peter Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate, to accept and pass the bill as is. One main point of contention in the rounds of legislative amendment ping-pong was concerning the House of Commons-rejected Senate amendment which would give the provinces the jurisdiction to ban home cultivation of cannabis. The change was defeated. 

The next step for cannabis bill C-45 is royal assent, after which it becomes law. Canadians can expect to purchase and consume legal recreational marijuana by mid-September. 

June 20, 2018

by Alana Armstrong

Profile photo of Alana Armstrong
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.

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