Canada Has Officially Legalized Cannabis For Recreational Use
Canada has become the second country in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use. In a historic move, the Senate passed bill C-45 on Tuesday with a 52-29 vote. Canada is the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis.
Uruguay was the first country to legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational use in 2013.
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Bill C-45 was first introduced in April of 2017 and has since gone through various political hurdles on its way to becoming law. The last of these hurdles, to gain Senate approval, has now been overcome and Royal Assent will likely be received this week after which the Canadian government will decide when the new law will take effect. At this point, individual provinces will begin making plans for recreational cannabis implementation within their jurisdictions.
Although cannabis is now officially legal in Canada, Canadians will have to wait 8 - 12 weeks until recreational cannabis is available for purchase. Canadian provinces and territories will use this time to implement their own laws and processes around recreational cannabis purchase and consumption.
Under new Canadian law, adults 18 and over will be able to possess 30 grams of cannabis in public. Individual provinces retain the right to increase this minimum age if they so see fit. Cultivation allowances will permit adults to grow up to four plants per household and purchasing laws will require Canadians to buy cannabis from either federally or provincially regulated retailers only.
There will also be strict laws on edibles, which are likely to become available for sale later than other cannabis products, due to additional time being needed for the government to impose laws on cannabis foodstuffs. All cannabis products will have to be sold in plain packaging with no branding that could appeal to children.
Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to announce the bill's passage, using the hashtag #PromiseKept to indicate his unfaltering commitment to seeing the promise he made to Canadians through.
It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 20, 2018
"It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept", he tweeted.
The Trudeau government has argued that Canada's previous laws prohibiting cannabis use have long been ineffective, as demonstrated by multiple studies proving Canadians to be some of the heaviest cannabis users in the world. A 2015 report showed that Canadians spent almost as much on cannabis as they did on wine.
Canada will likely serve as an example for various nations tentatively moving towards more liberal attitudes towards cannabis. Cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States but is now recreationally legal in nine states and medically legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Advocates in the United States continue to push for federal legalization as their neighbors to the north move into a new phase of cannabis history.