Senators defer on home cultivation issue, clear way for passing cannabis bill

Bill Blair

"We have seen in the Senate tonight a historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition of cannabis in this country, 90 years of needless criminalization, 90 years of a just-say-no approach to drugs that hasn't worked", said independent Sen.

It has not yet been determined whether those who were convicted of charges relating to marijuana before the legalisation will receive amnesty, but it is understood that it is one of Trudeau's concerns.

The bill has now gone back to the Senate for further discussion.

MPs spent a portion of Monday and last week debating the Senate's amendments before 205 of them voted today in favour of rejecting 13 of the proposed changes.

Canadians will have to wait until September before being legally allowed to light. Canadians will also be allowed to grow small amounts of pot for recreational use.

Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province will have its own rules.

It grants the federal government the power to license and regulate a restricted group of cannabis growers, but leaves it largely up to the discretion of Canada's 10 provinces and three territories to decide how to sell and distribute the drug.

The fight to make marijuana legal in Canada has been a long battle for the country and PM Justin Trudeau's Liberals as marijuana was a huge part of Trudeau's 2015 election campaign.

Initially, the government had planned for the bill to be passed by both houses of Parliament in time for retail sales to begin by July 1.

In the neighboring USA, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana.

Like statewide legalization in the United States, it'll be a while before people can just walk into a shop and order up a nice eighth. Transformative social policy, I think. "It ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health".

Conservative senators remained staunchly opposed to legalization.

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