Legalization of cannabis nationwide in Canada has been in the works for quite some time now – but on Tuesday of this week Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, received approval from the Senate with a vote of 52-29. That Senate vote was the second to last step, the bill now requires Royal Assent (final approval by another official) which was scheduled for this morning – officially making Canada the second country in the entire world to legalize cannabis.
“This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada,” justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould tweeted. “This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the promise of legalizing cannabis, and after a couple of years of studying the issue, the nation is preparing to have what will probably be the biggest legal and regulated cannabis market to date. Once the bill is formally approved, it will be legal for adults 18 and older to carry and share up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. It will also allow them to cultivate up to four plants in their homes and prepare their own edibles and other products from those plants as long as it remains for personal use.
Sales will be tightly regulated by the government – but individual provinces and territories have claimed that they need more time to properly prepare to implement the new law. So that things can run as smoothly as possible from the get-go, Trudeau has agreed to delay legalization – which was originally expected to happen this summer, promptly after passing the legislation – until this fall. Now, everything becomes legal and official on October 17th, 2018.
“We heard from provinces and territories who told us they needed more time to transition to this new framework, so our government will continue to work in full partnership with them, to ensure the smooth and orderly implementation of this new law across Canada,” Trudeau told reporters during an end-of-session news conference.
Considering the massive task at hand, it is understandable to delay things a few extra months while individual provinces and territories get a chance to determine any local regulations and restrictions, and ensure they have time to comply with federal regulations in these early phases.
Most importantly, Canada has taken a stand on the international War on Drugs, literally going up against the world to do what is right and end the unnecessary prohibition on cannabis.