Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday afternoon that recreational marijuana will officially become legal in Canada on October. 17, 2018.
Canadian Parliament has passed a “historic” bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana nationwide, becoming the second country in the world to do so.
The Cannabis Act passed its final hurdle on Tuesday in a 52-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed and sold, the BBC reported.
On Twitter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the bill and focused on Canada’s youth.
“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize and regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” he said.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also applauded the vote. “This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada,” she 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.”
But some groups objected to the new law, with opposition Conservative politicians and indigenous groups among those voicing concerns.
The government is giving provinces and territories, as well as municipalities, 17 weeks to set up the new marijuana marketplace. This time-frame will also allow industry and police forces to prepare for the new legal framework.
Ontario is one of the biggest markets. Premier elect Doug Ford hinted that he might make changes to the suggested recreational cannabis framework which was announced by Kathleen Wynne.
“I have always been open to a fair market, but this is new (cannabis) for everyone so we need to consult with our caucus members, law enforcement and most importantly the local communities before we do anything, he said in an interview to Can-India during his election campaign.
“I don’t believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time. I believe in letting the market dictate,” he added.
However, while he is now considering letting the LCBO handle the Cannabis stores since they already have the infrastructure in place, no decision will be made till he has consulted the caucus.
Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001. The bill will likely receive Royal Assent this week and the government will then choose an official date when the law will come into force.
Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.
However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana.
Media reported in April last year that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at amnesty for possession convictions after legalization takes effect. At a forum held during the time, he spoke about taking steps to look at what the government can do for individuals with criminal records for something that has been decriminalized. He also talked about changing the law to fix past wrongs that happened “because of this erroneous law that I didn’t put in place”.
Uruguay became the first country to legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational use in December 2013 while nine US states and the District of Columbia also allow recreational marijuana use.
Thirty US states allow marijuana for medical use. – CINEWS