Canada's Parliament Votes To Legalize Marijuana

Nina Golgowski

UPDATE: June 19: Canada’s upper house of Parliament approved the revised cannabis bill in a 52-29 vote Tuesday, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks.

Canada is one step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide after the Cannabis Act cleared the House of Commons on Monday.

Bill C-45 passed 205-85, moving toward a debate and possible final vote by the Senate. That vote could come as early as Tuesday, The Globe and Mail reported.

Canada would be the first Group of Seven nation to legalize recreational marijuana. In the United States, marijuana is illegal under federal law, though legal in certain states.

Smoke lingers over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, as people smoke marijuana during the annual 4/20 rally on April 20, 2018.

Bill Blair, a Liberal Party member of the Canadian Parliament, told CTV News that if the bill is passed this week, marijuana could be legal by September, lining up with a late-summer schedule proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an interview with Bloomberg News last month.

If Canada’s Senate passes the bill, it will be sent to the governor general for royal assent. Trudeau and his Cabinet would then be in charge of selecting a date for the law to go into effect. The current bill requires an eight- to 12-week delay before the law goes into effect, allowing time for provinces to prepare, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

A man gathers marijuana plants for medicinal use in Colombia, where medical cannabis is legal for domestic use and export. Canada would be the first G-7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Concerns expressed about the bill by members of Parliament include how to keep marijuana away from children and how to address organized crime and traffic deaths related to marijuana use. The current bill restricts...

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