Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Gets Final Approval From Lawmakers

Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Gets Final Approval From Lawmakers

After about seven months of legislative debate, Canadian lawmakers approved a bill to fully legalize marijuana nationwide on Tuesday.

Though the bill must still receive “royal assent” from the Governor General before the law is officially sanctioned, that step is generally viewed as a formality. At that point, Canada will become the first G7 nation to legalize recreational cannabis.

The decision in the Senate, which voted 52-29, with two abstentions, to approve the Cannabis Act, comes a week after the House of Commons approved 25 of the Senate’s amendments and rejected 13 others. About two weeks ago, the Senate gave initial approved the amended bill56-30.

Some Conservative and Independent senators expressed reservations about the final bill, particularly the rejection of an amendment that would have given individual provinces the authority to ban home cultivation of cannabis.

A vote to amend the legislation with respect to the home grow issue, which would have sent the bill back to the House, was voted down, 35-45 with one abstention.

Other Senate amendments that were rejected by the House include a ban on marijuana companies distributing “branded merchandise” and a requirement to establish a national registry “for shareholders involved in marijuana companies,” CTV News reported.

In April, three Senate committees submitted reports outlining their concerns about the legalization bill and offering recommendations that included a proposed one-year delay to better consult with Indigenous peoples. However, the Senate Aboriginal Peoples Committee later redacted that recommendation.

But in spite of the concerns of some committees and lawmakers, the legislation cleared its last major hurdle.

It will still take a few months before Canada implements a retail cannabis sales system. Liberal MP Bill Blair, the Canadian government’s point person on parliamentary cannabis legalization efforts, estimated that, pending royal assent, marijuana will be fully legalized and available for purchase in September.

Following the vote, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that “[i]t’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 & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”

The Cannabis Act will legalize the possession, use, cultivation and sale of marijuana for adults 18 and older. Individuals would be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants.

The bill also outlines criminal penalties for illegal distribution and sales of cannabis, crossing international borders with cannabis and possession over the legal limit.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Gets Final Approval From Lawmakers

Canada Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Critical Hurdle

Canada Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Critical Hurdle

A bill to to legalize marijuana in Canada passed a crucial step on Thursday, with the Senate approving the legislation at third reading. If ultimately implemented, Canada would become the first G7 nation to fully legalize cannabis.

The bill, C-45, represents a key campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party—and it was sponsored by Independent Senator Tony Dean. The bill passed the traditionally conservative Senate 56-30, with one abstention.

Dean said he “would rather not let those harms [of prohibition] continue both on the social side and the health side,” in a closing statement. “I would like to join other jurisdictions—like those in the U.S.—that have seen signification diversion” of marijuana from the black market to a regulated system.

The vote took place one day after the prime minister announced the appointment of two Independent senators to vacant seats, sworn in hours before the vote, which some saw as an effort to ensure the legalization bill passed.

What’s next?

Because the Senate also approved almost 50 amendments throughout the debate process—including one that would let individual provinces prohibit home-grown cannabis and another to limit cannabis companies’ ability to use products like t-shirts and hats to advertise their brands—the legislation must first go back to the House of Commons. Should the House accept the amended language of the bill, legalization would “technically” be the law of the land, CTV News reported.

The reason for that technical stipulation is that the government estimates that it will take as many as 12 weeks before the retail sales system is implemented. The bill must also be approved by “Royal Assent,” which is generally a formality where a representative of the Canadian monarchy sanctions the legislation.

A technical amendment approved during the third reading on Thursday would require a committee review of the legislation five years after implementation.

https://twitter.com/GlenKorstrom/status/1004803047606767617

What C-45 would accomplish

The bill would legalize the sale, use, possession, and limited cultivation of marijuana for adults 18 and older. Under the legislation, the government would create a regulatory system designed to reduce youth marijuana use and imposes taxes on retail sales, among other responsibilities.

Sessions Talks Marijuana With Anti-Legalization Canadian Senators

Photo courtesy of Christopher Policarpio.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Canada Marijuana Legalization Bill Clears Critical Hurdle

Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Faces New Challenges

Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Faces New Challenges

Three Canadian Senate committees submitted reports detailing a series of proposed amendments to the government’s marijuana legalization bill this week, threatening to delay and dilute what advocates consider an historic development in cannabis politics.

Though the traditionally conservative Senate passed the bill as written 44-29 in a second reading on March 22, it must now vote on amendments recommended by committees. One such panel is specifically advising the Senate to delay the bill for “as much as a year.”

Here’s what you need to know about each committee report:

Senate Legal And Constitutional Affairs Committee

A majority of Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs members proposed several amendments to the bill, including increased penalties for organizations found to be illegally exporting cannabis, limitations on the amount of dried marijuana an individual may possess and a ban on home cultivation.

The committee also unanimously expressed concerns about the risks of implementing marijuana legalization for “vulnerable populations, including youth and people living with mental illness,” as well as “the intrusion of organized crime in the cannabis industry.”

Their report will be considered by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which is scheduled to submit its own report on May 29.

Senate Aboriginal Peoples Committee

The Committee on Aboriginal Peoples submitted a report that called for as long as a year delay on the bill, arguing that Indigenous communities were inadequately consulted about the legalization measure.

In its report, the committee proposed eight amendments. It’s seeking funding for “culturally specific education” about cannabis, the right for Indigenous communities to set their own cannabis taxes and penalties and excise tax revenue for public health and addiction treatment programs, among other things.

“Indigenous peoples are entitled to a say in how the government implements the legalization of cannabis,” Senator Lillian Eva Dyck, who chairs the committee, said in a press release. “They have expressed real concerns to us—the potential for increased harmful effects on indigenous communities on the one hand, and the possibility of losing out on economic opportunities on the other. We must address these issues.”

Senate National Security And Defence Committee

Finally, the Committee on National Security and Defence released a report that called on the government to continue talks and “negotiate an agreement” with the United States about possible consequences for Canadian travelers crossing the border after legalization.

The report cited witness testimony that Canadians may run the risk of facing longer interrogations at the border “and/or inadmissibility for life for a cannabis offense, or for simply admitting previous cannabis use to U.S. customs and border protection officers.”

The report comes about a month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a staunch prohibitionist, met with Conservative Canadian senators to discuss the possible ramifications of the country’s pending legalization of marijuana.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Guarded About Prospect of Legalization Delay

Asked about senators’ proposed delay on the implementation of marijuana legalization, Trudeau “left the door open,” The Canadian Press reported Wednesday.

Declining to comment specifically, Trudeau said simply that “legalization is not an event, it’s a process.”

If the Senate accepts any of the committees’ amendments, the bill would then go back to the House of Commons for another vote. Such a delay may impact when legalization would be implemented. And in the event that the House rejects any amendments approved by the Senate, another bicameral volley would again set back the timeline for implementation.

Trudeau’s governing Liberal party initially pushed for legalization to take effect in July.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Faces New Challenges

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