On June 7, 2018 the Canadian Senate approved the Cannabis Act which would legalise the use of recreational marijuana. Bill C-45 would establish a legal framework for adult consumption and regulate the cannabis industry. While this may seem like a cause for celebration for many, I would hold off on celebrating just yet.
The bill was passed by the Senate after making several amendments to the original act that was sent over by the House of Commons.
There were roughly 40 amendments that were introduced by the Senate, many of which were technical in nature. Some notable amendments include:
These amendments will now face the House of Commons where Members of Parliament will be able to accept or reject them. If the government accepts the amendments, then royal assent (the final stage in the legislative process) will be given. However, if certain amendments are rejected, the bill may be in for some back-and-forth between the Senate and the House of Commons over the next month or so. Even after receiving royal assent, the federal government has signalled that there will be a roughly 8-12-week transition period before the bill comes into effect.
We still have a couple of more months to go before this legislation comes into action. Uruguay was the first country to legalise recreational marijuana in 2013 and there are currently nine US states that have legalised recreational cannabis. If and when The Cannabis Act is accepted, it would make Canada the second country in the world to legalise recreational cannabis.