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Canada Legalizes Marijuana

Canadian lawmakers have given final approval to ending a nearly hundred year ban on marijuana, and use of the plant is expected to be fully legal in eight to 12 weeks.

Canada’s Senate voted to pass the bill legalizing non-medical use of cannabis, which was being pushed by the federal government, on a 52-29 vote with two senators abstaining.

“We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada,” Senate bill sponsor told Tony Dean told the CBC.  “The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government.”

“Now we can start to tackle some of the harms of cannabis,’’ Dean said, according to the New York Times. “We can start to be proactive in public education. We’ll see the end of criminalization and we can start addressing Canada’s $7 billion illegal market.”

The government will miss an earlier sought deadline of July 1 for having cannabis available legally, but officials said it would likely be fully legal in two or three months. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will set the final date for when the new regulations governing the use of marijuana will take effect.

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits,” Trudeau, a major backer of the idea, said in a Tweet. “Today, we change that.”

While the government and Trudeau pushed for the change, polls showed Canadians were divided on the issue.

Opponents were disappointed not only that Canada has legalized marijuana – they’ve known for more than a year that the number of supporters was high enough that it was going to happen – but that lawmakers rejected efforts to put measures in law giving provinces some ability to opt out of some aspects of it, and rejected efforts to put more extensive regulations in place aimed at adding controls on the industry.

“There’s nothing in this bill that indicates to me that we’re tackling the problem, which is increased marijuana use among young people,” Sen. Leo Housakos, told the CBC.

With the vote, Canada becomes the first major economy in the world where cannabis use for recreational, or non-medical, purposes will be legal. Uruguay is the only other nation where marijuana is legal nationwide.

While some details remain to be worked out, the new law calls for limits on advertising and packaging, which can’t be decorated. It also will carry health warnings.

Edible marijuana continues to be illegal, at least for now.

The Canadian government will license growers, but the provinces will have some say on the rules for how cannabis will be sold to the public. There will be a minimum age of at least 18, but provinces can also set the age at 19.



About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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