Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on Oct. 17

Bill Blair

Bill Blair

The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have already made a decision to ban home-grown pot, even though the federal bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.

The federal government is basking in the glow of its newly realized plan to legalize marijuana, but it is reminding Canadians that pot remains illegal in this country until the Cannabis Act goes into effect.

Senators last week approved nearly four dozen amendments to C-45.

It was clear, however, that there are still more questions than answers about what Canada's nascent legal-pot landscape will look like - how police will test motorists, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work. In some jurisdictions, such as Alberta and Nova Scotia, cannabis will be sold in the same stores that carry alcoholic beverages, while in others, such as Quebec and British Columbia, the two kinds of products will be sold separately. "However, there may arise a challenge by an individual of another jurisdiction's law", she said. The Canadian Senate voted to legalize marijuana in a 52 to 29 vote, which will give way to "a fully legal marketplace for the plant within the next two to three months", Common Dreams reported. A proposed Senate amendment would have prevented legal challenges to their constitutional right to do so.

In a historic vote on Tuesday, Parliament changed Canadian law to lift the 95-year-old prohibition on cannabis and free millions of adults to openly smoke, ingest or grow the drug without fear of a criminal record.

Harder argued that the approach the upper house took to the bill would be studied by students of history as a shining example of how the so-called chamber of sober second thought was supposed to operate.

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Harder said their role "demonstrated once again that the Senate has come into its own as an effective, influential and, indeed, indispensable platform in Parliament for the voices of Indigenous Peoples".

Though denied entry of travellers who merely admit past drug use is relatively rare, the legalization of marijuana in Canada could mean that border patrol officers will be keeping a closer eye on Canadians seeking entry into the United States. Uruguay previously legalized marijuana in 2013.

Many pro-legalization advocates are calling on "the U.S.to take similar action and adopt a more rational federal marijuana policy", Tvert said.

Dried cannabis and cannabis oil will become commercially available later this year.

The Senate had asked for 40 amendments to the original bill, including one that would have allowed provinces to ban home cultivation. Now the penalty for possession of the drug is five years in jail and for supplying it 14 years.

Marijuana stocks surged at the news on Wednesday morning.

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