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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’s Ruling Liberal Party Endorses Drug Decriminalization

Canada’s Ruling Liberal Party Endorses Drug Decriminalization

Delegates at the national convention of Canada’s ruling Liberal Party have adopted a resolution endorsing the decriminalization of all drugs.

“The Government of Canada should treat drug abuse as a health issue, expand treatment and harm reduction services and re-classify low-level drug possession and consumption as administrative violations,” reads the measure adopted by party members on Saturday.

The resolution was pushed by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.

The resolution touts the success of a drug decriminalization policy enacted in Portugal in 2001.

“Since 2001, in Portugal, the number of deaths from drug overdose has dropped significantly, adolescent and problematic drug use has decreased, the number of people in drug treatment has increased, the number of people arrested and sent to criminal courts has declined by 60%, and the per capital social cost of drug misuse has decreased by 18%,” it says.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who was Portugal’s prime minister when the country enacted decriminalization, recently touted the policy’s success at a UN narcotics meeting.

UN Chief Touts Drug Decriminalization In Speech To Narcotics Commission

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is currently working to enact a marijuana legalization bill.

Trudeau said he’s not ready to support broader decriminalization of other drugs yet, though.

“We’ll of course reflect on next steps for a broad range of issues they bring up. On that particular issue, as I’ve said, it’s not part of our plans,” he said, according to CBC.

The drug decriminalization resolution got the third-highest support out of all measures considered at the convention. Party members also adopted a resolution calling for the decriminalization of sex work.

Despite strong support for the resolutions from members at the convention, party leaders are not obligated to support the proposed policy changes.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Canada’s Ruling Liberal Party Endorses Drug Decriminalization

 

New Canadian Prime Minister To Legalize Cannabis

New Canadian Prime Minister To Legalize Cannabis

On Monday, October 19, Canadian citizens ousted their Conservative Party Prime Minister of nearly a decade, Stephen Harper, in a general election and instead selected Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party candidate. While public policy toward medical and recreational cannabis is typically supported most by liberal or progressive politicians, Trudeau stands out based on his campaign promise of legalizing recreational marijuana at the federal level in the Great White North.

During the campaign, the Liberal Party proclaimed:

“We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana. Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work.”

If Trudeau and the Liberal Party are able to achieve federal legalization of recreational cannabis, it will result in the first developed nation to do so. Currently, Uruguay is the only country to have legalized recreational cannabis at the federal level.

Given Canada’s tight trading relationship with the U.S. and the long border the two countries share, such a policy shift would certainly gain the attention of those in Washington who oppose legalization and the current state-level medical and recreational “experiments” that exist in the States.

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While Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have legalized and begun regulating recreational marijuana, Canada’s acceptance of the herb on a national level could signal a new revolt to decades-old international treaties prohibiting a slew of drugs, including cannabis. These treaties, a collection of international agreements and laws led by the United States and orchestrated via the United Nations, were signed over a 27-year period between the 1960s and 1980s.

There are currently three major international drug policy treaties, all signed between 1961 and 1988:

  • 1961: Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
  • 1971: Convention on Psychotropic Drugs
  • 1988: UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

Canada’s secession from these treaties would send a progressive, rebellious signal to the international community that the economic, political, and regulatory models evolving — and thriving — in states like Colorado, California, and Washington should be heeded as a positive example by the world. Lower crime, increased tax revenues, improved public health, and an overall better economy can all be claimed by both first and third world nations that legalize in an effort to join the small enclaves of the world, like Oregon and Uruguay, that have chosen a decidedly 21st century approach to drug policy.

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Trudeau’s Liberal Party believes that public policy must be progressive and embrace marijuana legalization, treating it as public health and economic growth opportunity issue, not a criminal one. “If we pass smart laws that tax and strictly regulate marijuana, we can better protect our kids, while preventing millions of dollars from going into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs.”

Wrote German Lopez on the topic:

“So Canada’s decision to legalize pot — if it comes, and that’s still unsure — would be the most high-profile rebuke of the international treaties since they were signed.”

Whether Canada, under its new, young, charismatic leader will actually succeed in legalizing cannabis remains uncertain. The Conservative Party and others opposed to such progressive legislation aren’t dead; they simply lost a federal election. But the will of the people in Canada is clear: They want rational, progressive laws, regulations, and taxes applied to legal recreational cannabis, finally completing the federal-level medical cannabis program the country implemented way back in 2001 — and that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have been fighting against ever since.

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