Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Senate continues debate on Cannabis Act

Senate continues debate on Cannabis Act

The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 52-29 on Tuesday to end the 90-year prohibition, however Canadians will have to wait at least a few months to legally buy marijuana.

"We have seen in the Senate tonight a historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition of cannabis in this country, 90 years of needless criminalisation, 90 years of a just-say-no approach to drugs that hasn't worked", independent Senator Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Upper House, said. A Senate amendment that sought to allow provinces to limit or prohibit personal cultivation was ultimately rejected by members of the House.

Senators now have to decide whether to defer to the will of the elected government or insist on some or all of their amendments, digging in for a protracted parliamentary battle. The objective of the Senate's amendment was to prevent legal challenges to their constitutional right to do so. Among the other Senate amendments rejected by the government was one that would have prohibited any marijuana-branded swag, such as T-shirts and ball caps.

"That does not in any way suggest that it's now party time". That timeline was pushed back after the Senate requested more time to review Bill C-45. Peter Harder, the government's representative in the Senate.

Senate debate on the bill will continue on Tuesday.

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Canada has passed a landmark law that legalises the recreational use of marijuana nationwide.

Canada's federal government started the arduous journey to legalization in April 2017.

The bill lifts a 95-year-old ban on recreational marijuana, though regulated medical marijuana has been legal in the country for almost two decades.

While production of cannabis is regulated by the federal government, provinces and cities have more powers over retail sales either through private or government-owned stores.

An expert panel is being set up to advise ministers of potential changes to the law in the United Kingdom, which is the world's largest exporter of legal cannabis.

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