Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Trudeau sets date for marijuana legalization in Canada

Trudeau sets date for marijuana legalization in Canada

Canada's Senate gave final passage to a federal government bill to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes.

Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, legalizes marijuana but leaves it up to each province to decide how to implements sales.

Trudeau said in Parliament on Wednesday that the government is committed to better protecting Canada's youth and hopes to draw money away from organized crime.

While production of cannabis is regulated by the federal government, provinces and cities have more powers over retail sales either through private or government-owned stores.

Not only will recreational use be legal, "Canadian will also be permitted to grow up to four plants in their homes under the Cannabis Act", Common Dreams reported.

Wilson-Raybould said the federal government has no intention of challenging provincial bans on home-grown pot but she noted that some individuals may well launch legal challenges.

The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have already chose to ban home-grown pot, even though the federal bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.

"There's a law that was duly passed in Quebec and that's the law of the province", she said.

Trudeau said there's "no point" in discussing it until the new laws are in place, a position echoed by Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief and MP who coordinates the marijuana file for the government.

Trudeau has strongly hinted that pardons are likely but he has resolutely refused to go down that path before the law is changed.

On Wednesday, Trudeau and his ministers were basking in the glow of finally delivering on one of the Liberals' biggest campaign promises in 2015.

In the Commons, New Democrat MP Don Davies attempted to pass a motion calling on the government to immediately pardon Canadians convicted of simple cannabis possession - something that will no longer be a crime as of October 17. Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, a Canadian senator, made a recent visit to Washington, D.C. and was told by US law enforcement that Canadian travellers will soon be subject to stricter scrutiny at the border. "Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate", Trudeau said in a tweet.

Many of his customers are Canadian tourists who are terrified of trying to bring pot across the border, he said.

"Canada should be applauded for taking bold and decisive steps towards ending the failed prohibition of marijuana", Hannah Hetzer, the Senior International Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.

"People ask me all the time, 'Isn't legalization in Canada going to hurt your business?'" he said.

Mark Zekulin, president of Canopy Growth, told CTV's Power Play host Don Martin that while they would have been ready for a July implementation, "we'll take the breathing room". "The more it's legal, the more people are going to feel safe to buy my product'".

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