Canada on the brink of legalizing recreational marijuana after Senate passes Bill C-45 | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 08.06.2018
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Canada on the brink of legalizing recreational marijuana after Senate passes Bill C-45

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once said he smoked a joint "five or six times." He and many other Canadians will be able to publicly possess up to 30 grams of the drug once the House of Commons signs off on Bill C-45.

Canada is set to legalize the recreational use of marijuana after the country's upper chamber of parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a bill that would permit its production, sale and consumption.

Fifty-two lawmakers in the Senate approved Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, while 30 voted against and one abstained.

The bill would allow anyone 18 or older to publicly possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, a drug that has been available for medical use since 2001. Individuals would also have the right to grow up to four cannabis plants at home.

Read more: Japan struggles with growing cannabis use

Trudeau got high 'five or six times'

Lawmakers in the parliament's lower chamber, the House of Commons, are set to sign off on the Senate's amendments after passing their version of the bill in November 2017. The amendments include stricter advertising rules and provisions that would give the country's provinces a say in how many plants may be grown at home.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who once said he smoked a joint "five or six times," has supported the bill's passage after pledging to legalize recreational marijuana during the 2015 parliamentary elections.

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Cannabis is becoming a major market

But some members of the opposition Conservative Party have criticized the proposal amid concerns about legalization could negatively impact young people.

Read more: 5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany

First in the G7

Canada would be the first member of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries to legalize marijuana for personal use. It would follow in the footsteps of Uruguay, which legalized recreational use in 2013, and nine US states.

The government had aimed for marijuana sales to begin on July 1, but that target appears unlikely. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor recently said sales of the drug would only commence a few months after the bill has been approved, once businesses have had enough time to prepare for the change.

Read more: German police union advocates legalization of cannabis

amp/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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