Canadian senators approved by a vote of 52-29, with two abstentions, a bill allowing since September a legal market to sell and consume marijuana. The government, among other things, hopes thus to undermine the black drug market, CBC News TV channel reported.
“We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government.” said Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. He went on to describe the legalization of marijuana as a bold step.
Dean said that the volume of illegal marijuana market in Canada is about $ 7 bn, and now it is time to engage in public education in order to reduce the harm caused to pot users.
The bill would make it legal for aged over 18 to possess marijuana, provided that it is less than 30 grams (just over an ounce). It also allows Canadians to grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes.
The authors of the initiative, according to the NPR, claim that the implementation of such a project will have a number of benefits: from protecting young people’s health (by restricting access) to undercutting criminal activity and reducing the burden on the criminal justice.
Prime Minister of the country Justin Trudeau hailed the move of the parliament. On his Twitter page, Trudeau said that before the legalization of marijuana, children could easily buy a drug, thereby making a profit for criminals.
“Today we will change this. Our plan for the legalization and regulation of marijuana was [voted in] in the Senate,” Trudeau added .
Initially, the government of the country expected both chamber of the legislature to give green light to the legal sale of marijuana from July 1, but the process of considering the bill in parliament was delayed. Some senators came up with 46 amendments, 13 of them were rejected during the consideration of the bill (including the right of provinces to ban growing marijuana at home).
Bill C-45, or the Cannabis Act comes with a provisional buffer period of eight to 12 weeks to give provinces time to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana
A Conservative Senator said that nothing in this bill to indicate that Canada are solving the problem of increasing the consumption of marijuana among young people. Other critics the initiative suffers from a serious absence of policy analysis.
The bill, according to the BBC, is likely to receive royal go-ahead this week, after which the Canadian government will choose the official date for the entry of the act into force.
Canada’s government has published the results of a national survey with “about half of respondents indicated that cannabis had a positive effect on a person’s mood (51 percent), creativity (45 percent), anxiety (50 percent), and sleep (49 percent),” Canada’s Health Ministry said.
Canada banned marijuana in 1923, but allowed use it for medical purposes in 2001.