Canada Passes Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

Canada Passes Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

Canada Passes Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

Canadian pot stocks surged Wednesday after a bill to legalize recreational marijuana passed one of the last major hurdles in the country's parliament.

The Cannabis Act was approved by the Senate 52-29 after already passing the House of Commons.

The step is only a formality.

"At some level, we know that spending more than half of your waking hours intoxicated for years and years on end is not increasing the likelihood that you'll win a Pulitzer Prize or discover the cure for cancer", Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, told Vox.

The new legislation will make Canada the first G7 country to allow the use of cannabis.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that marijuana will be legal across the country starting October 17, according to The Associated Press.

"Today, we change that". A timeframe has yet to be drawn up, but it thought that Canadian may be able to legally purchase the drug by September.

Although Premier-designate Doug Ford had previously mused that a PC government would privatize pot sales, preferring a free market, he said during a leaders' debate that recreational marijuana would be available at LCBO stores.

The minimum legal age to buy and consume marijuana has been set federally at 18, but some provinces have chosen to set it at 19. "I don't think it is of such importance to warrant an extraordinary intervention".

"The legislation is transformative", said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, adding it "marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of prohibition".

Conservative senators also raised other concerns, such as slower U.S. border crossings, that kept the bill in the upper house for about seven months.

The Senate had wanted to remove the provision that allowed police to conduct random roadside alcohol tests, but the government rejected that amendment, among others.

When asked if the government is considering amnesty or pardons for people who have criminal records for marijuana crimes, Ms. Wilson-Raybould said the issue is under "consideration" by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

It now makes Canada the second country to have a nationwide, legal marijuana market, after Uruguay.

But some health experts have anxious that the lower age will encourage use of a substance that can have long-term consequences on still-maturing brains.

Conservative senators remained resolutely opposed to legalization, however, and predicted passage of C-45 will not meet the government's objectives.

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