The government’s plan to legalize marijuana by this summer remains on track.
After a tense day of uncertainty over whether the Liberals could garner enough support from independent senators to defeat a Conservative effort to kill the bill, Bill C-45 passed second reading on Thursday night.
It is now headed to committee, where it is expected to face scathing reviews by Conservative senators.
The vote came down to a thin 44-29 margin of victory.
While Liberals had the numbers to pass the legislation in the House of Commons even if the NDP had not voted with them to support the bill, the same was not true for the situation in the Senate.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked Liberal senators out of his caucus in 2014 and has appointed only independent senators since his election in 2015.
While there are still 11 senators who call themselves Liberals, they are not formally aligned with the party and the other 43 members of the Independent Senators Group cannot be whipped into supporting or even attending a vote on a government bill.