Canada's Pot Move Makes It the 2nd Country of Its Kind

Only 2 nations on Earth have legal recreational pot nationwide
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2018 12:35 AM CDT
Updated Jun 20, 2018 6:40 AM CDT
Canada Takes Final Step to Legalize Marijuana
A cash register is adorned with a Canadian flag and imitation marijuana leaves at the BC Marijuana Party Headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Canadian lawmakers have taken the final step toward legalizing recreational marijuana—and it will become official as soon as Queen Elizabeth II's representative signs off on it. A bill ending the country's 95-year prohibition on cannabis passed Canada's Senate by a vote of 52 to 29, CTV reports. After royal assent is granted—which could happen as soon as Wednesday—the government will set a date for the new law, Bill C-45, to come into force. The bill grants provinces a "buffer period" of eight to 12 weeks to prepare for legal marijuana sales, meaning Canadians over 18 could be able to buy legal pot as soon as September, the CBC reports. Canadians will also be allowed to grow small amounts of pot for recreational use.

Independent Sen. Tony Dean, the bill's Senate sponsor, said he was feeling "great," Global News reports. "We've just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition," he said. He added that it is now time to start addressing the harms of cannabis and the $7 billion illegal market, an approach echoed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits," he tweeted. "Today, we change that." The bill makes Canada only the second country, after Uruguay, to legalize recreational use of cannabis nationwide, reports the BBC. (Canadian pot growers started ramping up production last year.)

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