Canada Has Just Passed a Landmark Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Canada passed a landmark bill Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana, becoming the second country to make pot legal nationwide.
The legislation will allow Canadians to buy and consume weed as soon as September, the BBC reports. It is expected to receive royal assent sometime this week.
Canada criminalized pot possession in 1923, but became an early adopter of medical marijuana in 2001.
The Cannabis Act was approved by the Senate 52-29 after already passing the House of Commons. The law allows the federal government to license producers and regulate how they grow, sell and distribute marijuana.
Under the law, adults 18 and up will be allowed to possess up to ounce of weed for recreational use, and grow a maximum of four plants.
Weed-infused edibles will be legal within one year of the law’s implementation, a delay meant to to give the government time to figure out how to regulate the products.
The exact timeline for the law depends on when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decides to put it into effect and how much time he allots for the territories and provinces to roll out retail sales.
Trudeau had made legalizing and federally regulating marijuana one of his 2015 campaign promises, arguing that only criminal syndicates profited from the drug’s prohibition. On Wednesday, he tweeted, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that.”
In 2015, Canadians reportedly spent C$6 billion ($4.5 billion) on marijuana, almost as much as was spent on wine.
In the U.S., nine states have legalized recreational marijuana. Uruguay was previously the only country that permitted recreational marijuana in public.