Canadian senate passes weed bill but legalization delayed

Aaron Brown
June 20, 2018

The Canadian Senate voted Tuesday evening to legalize marijuana across the entire country.

Trudeau's cabinet was set to decide an official legalization date in early or mid-September.

Canadian marijuana companies like Canopy Growth Corp, Aphria Inc, Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF and Aurora Cannabis Inc have been at the centre of investor frenzy surrounding attempts to legalise marijuana for recreational use nationwide.

Canadians spent more than 5.7 billion Canadian dollars on marijuana in 2017, with the majority of it for recreational use, according to a Statistics Canada report released in January.

The Senate voted 52 to 29 in favor of a revised bill from the elected House of Commons, and there were two abstentions.

The Senate's amendment was meant to head off any legal challenges to the provinces' constitutional authority to prohibit home cultivation. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed and sold.

Bill Morneau, Canada's finance minister, said that he expects the government to rake in almost 300 million Canadian dollars from the taxes on legalized cannabis.

"That does not in any way suggest that it's now party time".

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The federal government has insisted that provinces allow individuals to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, and rejected an amendment that would affirm the province's right to prohibit them.

The government rejected 12 other amendments approved by the Senate. That timeline was pushed back after the Senate requested more time to review Bill C-45.

Harder said their role "demonstrated once again that the Senate has come into its own as an effective, influential and, indeed, indispensable platform in Parliament for the voices of Indigenous Peoples".

The eyes of the world are turning to Canada to see how it handles legal pot.

As for cannabis tax haul, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has estimated a total of $400 million (€260 million), although Ottawa has agreed to retain only 25 per cent of the total raised and put the rest into provincial government coffers. Uruguay was previously the only country that permitted recreational marijuana in public.

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

Currently, those found in possession without a licence face up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Where else is Cannabis legal?

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