On Thursday evening, the Canadian senate passed the legislation that will legalize cannabis for recreational use, meaning the nation is one step closer to full legalization.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the legislation last year and has been a vocal supporter of legal recreational cannabis throughout his ministerial campaign and his time as Canada’s PM.
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 56 to 30. The legislation will now return to the House of Commons, where amendments will be made before a full-scale national role out.
Canada are set to become just the second nation in the world to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. Last year, Uruguay became the first nation in the world to introduce such laws.
Speaking after voting for legalization, Independent Sen. Tony Dean stated;
“Legislation is designed to combat social ills such as high rates of youth consumption and the criminalization of those who possess the drug, particularly young indigenous people.”
However, despite the majority of parliamentary members approving the new legislation, there are a number of opponents who believe that the changes in law will have a negative impact on Canadian society. Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos voiced his concerns stating;
“Unfortunately, this bill makes marijuana more accessible to teenagers, particularly, than ever before, and it’s very concerning,”
Ahead of the proposes legalisation, a number of companies and individuals in the U.S. cannabis industry have been pouring investment into Canada, with predicted retail sales of up to $5 billion (U.S) by 2020 a very enticing figure.