BBC: Canada legalises recreational cannabis use
Canada’s parliament has passed a law legalising the recreational use of marijuana nationwide.
The Cannabis Act passed its final hurdle on Tuesday in a 52-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed, and sold.
Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.
The country is the second worldwide to legalise the drug’s recreational use.
Uruguay became the first country to legalise the sale of cannabis for recreational use in December 2013, while a number of US states have also voted to permit it.
Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001.
The bill will likely receive Royal Assent this week, and the government will then choose an official date when the law will come into force.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that until now, “it’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits”.
The Guardian: Canada becomes second country to legalise cannabis use
Cannabis Act passes, with the legislation expected to take effect in a few months
“We’ve just witnessed a very historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition,” senator Tony Dean told reporters on Tuesday after the vote to pass the Cannabis Act.
“It ends 90 years of needless criminalisation, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health and community health in favour of just-say-no approaches that simply failed young people miserably.”
The federal government has said it would give provinces and territories – who are responsible for deciding how recreational cannabis will be distributed and sold – eight to 12 weeks after the legislation is passed to get ready for sales, but the exact date that sales begin will be set by the federal government.
Reuters: Canada Senate approves recreational use of marijuana
The Senate voted 52-29 in favor of the revised bill from the elected House of Commons, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had made legalizing recreational use of marijuana part of their successful 2015 election campaign, arguing the new law would keep pot out of the hands of underage users and reduce related crime.
“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 said in a tweet.
As the first major economy to fully legalize cannabis, Canada’s regulatory rollout will be closely watched by other nations considering the same path – and by global investors, who have already poured billions into Canadian marijuana firms.