Article by Rachel Aiello, CTV News
The bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada is up for a crucial vote at the last step in the legislative process this week, with uncertainty looming over what the final wording of the law will be.
Senators are set to vote on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, at third reading in the Senate on Thursday, after studying it for six months. For those planning to follow the vote that day, rest up as it’s possible the vote could not happen until midnight. It could also be much earlier, but entirely depends on how many senators want to speak to the bill that day. Midnight would be the latest possible, as all sides agreed to vote on the bill by June 7 at the latest.
The legislation – an electoral promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party – would allow adults in Canada to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational marijuana. It sets out parameters around the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of marijuana. It also creates new Criminal Code offences for selling marijuana to minors. The proposed federal law spells out that it will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to buy pot, but allows for provinces and territories to set a higher minimum age.
Bill C-45 was introduced alongside Bill C-46 which specifically deals with drug-impaired driving. It is still before the Senate and is facing its own winding legislative journey. Read more on that here.
Speaking with CTVNews.ca, Leader of the Independent Senators Group Sen. Paul Woo classified Bill C-45 as a “stress test” on the increasingly independent Senate.
The Senate has already passed amendments to Bill C-45, which forces the legislation to be sent back to the House of Commons if it passes. There, the government will have to decide if it will accept all the changes made by the Senate. Read more on the specifics of the amendments made, below.