Canada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Nationwide

Bill Blair

Bill Blair

A Canadian flag with a marijuana leaf is flown during a 4/20 rally to demand the legalization of marijuana on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 20, 2012.

The law makes Canada the second country to have a nationwide, legal marijuana market, after Uruguay.

Canada's Senate approved a landmark bill Tuesday to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

The Senate will continue debate on the marijuana legalization bill today and we could see a final vote on the bill that is being tossed back and forth between the House of Commons and the Upper Chamber. The bill requires a buffer period of eight to 12 weeks.

The minimum legal age to buy and consume marijuana has been set federally at 18, but some provinces have chosen to set it at 19.

The Netherlands in general, and Amsterdam in particular, have tolerated the sale and use of marijuana in iconic coffee shops since 1976. Cannabis will be strictly regulated, with the objective of keeping it out of the hands of young people and displacing the thriving black market in cannabis controlled by organized crime.

'I'm feeling just great, ' said Senator Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

The Canadian government planned for retail sales to start in the beginning of July, but the start date was pushed because the Senate required more time to review the bill.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tweeted that it was a "historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada as we shift our approach to cannabis".

The Senate has voted to accept the latest version of the bill that will make recreational marijuana legal in Canada within the next three months. "I don't think it is of such importance to warrant an extraordinary intervention". "A fearless move on the part of the government", he said, according to CBC.

Cannabis activists cheered the move on Wednesday morning. 29 states allow the drug to be sold for medical use and as taxation of the industry brings extra spending money, more states are expected to follow suit in legalising or at least decriminalising the drug. "Canada's progress will galvanize support for drug policy reforms in the USA and all around the world".

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