Eyes from around the world are firmly focused on the ‘Great White North’ this week, following a bill passed on Monday to legalize recreational cannabis. The legislation passed Canada’s House of Commons by 205 votes to a mere 82.
The bill is now set to be passed onto senate who can delay, but not block its implementation. Considering senate have already approved a similar version of the bill, complete legalization is looking likely.
If and when the bill passes senate it will then receive royal assent from the governor general before coming law in September. This would make Canada the first G7 country to legalize Cannabis.
Despite a number of American states legalizing marijuana, the substance is still banned on a US federal level. Canada’s legalization would be somewhat ground breaking as it would lift prohibition nationwide.
Just last week, the government rejected 13 out of the 46 amendments to the bill proposed by senate following months of study, with Prime Minster Justin Trudeau’s Health Minister rising to defend home cultivation.
“Canadians are allowed to make beer at home, or wine,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said.
“It is already possible for Canadians to grow Cannabis for medical purposes and we absolutely believe the legislation should be consistent when it comes to recreational cannabis.”
The government she said, would follow its expert panel’s recommendation to allow at home cultivation of up to four pot plants for personal use.
Prime Minister Trudeau has been lobbying for the legalization of cannabis since his 2015 campaign and admits to smoking a joint with friends “five or six times”.
July 1st was set as the initial target for ending the prohibition which dates back to 1923 and despite political setbacks Trudeau has insisted his government would move to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the psychoactive drug this year.