Canadian Senate approves marijuana legalisation bill

Aaron Brown
June 11, 2018

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WASHINGTON-President Trump said Friday he would likely sign a bill co-authored by Sen.

Gardner's bipartisan legislation, which also has backing in the House of Representatives, would bar the federal government from interfering with any state-approved marijuana legalization and permit marijuana businesses to use the federal banking system.

Uruguay approved the recreational usage of marijuana five years ago and nine US states have too but Canada will be the first G-7 country to do so. According to ABC News, this past April Trump and Gardner reached a deal that stopped the government from targeting Colorado's marijuana industry in exchange for Gardner's assurance to not hold up Trump judicial nominees.

Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, leader of the independent senators' group, said one had only to look at the amendments proposed by the independents - including the home cultivation one - to know the Tory accusations of partisanship aren't true.

When asked about the measure, Trump told reporters in Washington that "we're looking at it".

The president's remarks place him in conflict with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of marijuana who lifted an Obama administration policy and freed federal prosecutors to more aggressively pursue cases in states that have legalised marijuana. "Not only could such data be used for invasive marketing, it could ultimately be acquired and used by federal law enforcement".

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However, Indigenous senators, who had initially called for a delay in implementing legalization, ended up supporting the bill - a key move that proved to isolate the Conservatives.

The plan discussed by the Canadian Senate this week lacks one major policy point many advocates pushed for: expunging the criminal records of people convicted for minor marijuana crimes. Hemp produces the non-intoxicating cannabinoids, or CBDs, that have become a health rage and a lucrative crop in Kentucky and other states.

Will Trump keep his promise? As part of legalization, the Canadian government will probably inform citizens that admitting to marijuana use might get them barred from crossing the border into the U.S., which classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug with "no now accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse", according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. "I think this is a courageous move on the part of the government, frankly, to take on a tough and controversial issue".

Another bill expands the state's medical marijuana program and allows any health-care practitioner permitted to prescribe controlled substances to write prescriptions.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and is grown by federally licensed producers. Elizabeth Warren of MA, said in a statement that Washington "needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana".

California, home to one in eight Americans, launched the nation's largest legal marijuana marketplace on January 1. In California, for example, paying taxes and other transactions are often carried out in cash, sometimes in vast amounts.

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