Senators have voted to pass the federal government’s bill legalizing recreational marijuana by a vote of 52-29, with two abstentions, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks.
“I’m feeling just great,” said Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “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.”
Dean said he thought the Senate functioned well throughout the process and he was proud of the work the Red Chamber did.
“Now we can start to tackle some of the harms of cannabis. We can start to be proactive in public education. We’ll see the end of criminalization and we can start addressing Canada’s $7-billion illegal market. These are good things for Canada.”
Initially, the government had planned for the bill to be passed by both houses of Parliament in time for retail sales to begin by July 1. That timeline was pushed back after the Senate requested more time to review the bill.
Now that the bill has passed, it’s up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to choose the actual date when the legalization of recreational marijuana becomes law of the land. Bill C-45 comes with a provisional buffer period of eight to 12 weeks to give provinces time to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana.