Canada Gears Up To Legalize Cannabis This Week
Canada is set to make history this week as the first G7 country to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
Bill C-45 would legalize the purchase and use of recreational weed for adults over the age of 18. The bill has successfully passed through the House of Commons and will be voted on by the Canadian Senate today. The Senate has been reviewing the bill for six months and is expected to pass the bill without issue.
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Providing the Senate passes the bill, it would then head back to the House of Commons, where lawmakers will review any amendments made by the Senate. Canadian law then requires royal assent to be given, whereby Canada's sovereign must approve the bill after it has passed through both the House of Commons and the Senate. These days, royal assent is but a formality and will likely not hinder the bill from becoming part of Canadian law.
However, if the House of Commons doesn't agree with the amendments set forth by the Senate, it could delay the bill from passing. If that happens, the bill would be passed between the two until both agreed upon the final wording of the bill.
If all goes well, Canada may legalize cannabis for recreational use by the end of the week, however, the actual sale of adult-use weed would not begin until at least 2 months after the bill becomes law. In addition to this, it remains to be seen how individual provinces will respond to federal recreational legalization. Some provinces may enact their own laws when it comes to recreational weed. Depending on what each province deems appropriate, some may enact different laws with regards to smoking in public or personal grow allowances.
Nevertheless, on the federal level, at least, adults will be allowed to carry a maximum of 30g (just over an ounce) of cannabis. Driving under the influence of weed will be strictly prohibited and enforced, and cannabis branding will be severely limited.
The way in which legal recreational cannabis plays out in Canada may have some bearing on US law in the future. Canada could provide a positive example for the United States, where weed remains illegal on the federal level. Though an increasing number of states are legalizing medical cannabis, only nine states so far have legalized adult-use weed.