Break out the Timbits and queue up some Rush, mates. The good folk in Canada just legalised recreational weed.
The North American nation is now just the second country in the world (behind Uruguay) to legalise recreational marijuana for all its people, after lawmakers in Ottawa voted to approve the legalisation bill.
The bill, known as the Cannabis Act, had already passed the lower House of Commons a while back. But in passing the Senate today – by a vote of 52 to 29 – the path is now paved for legal weed to become available to all Canadians within just 8 to 12 weeks.
Legalising marijuana was a core election promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s successful Liberal Party campaign in 2015, one which saw the centre-left party upend Stephen Harper, ending nine-years of Conservative Party Government in Canada.
The new legislation will allow marijuana to be legally sold to adults without prescription, and also permits possession and home growing for users. The federal government retains overseeing power for criminal sanctions (things like selling to minors and etc), and will control the licensing of producers. Provincial governments will regulate sales and distribution, which will allow them to impose stricter guidelines for sale, such as the legal age of purchase.
Interestingly enough, the legalisation of marijuana in Canada – as a federal decision – technically puts the country in violation of international law thanks to several drug treaties the country is a signatory of. Though it is unlikely any sanctions will be imposed on the country as a result of today’s decision.
The decision today ends some 90-odd years of prohibition, dating back to 1923. Medicinal cannabis, however, has been legal in the country since 2001.
Prime Minister Trudeau championed the decision today, with the hopes that the illegal trade of weed – worth around $7 billion – can lead to better education and more responsible usage among citizens.
It’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. #PromiseKept
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 20, 2018
In related news, a whole mess of poutine and a Kids in the Hall marathon sounds like a real good time right now for some reason…