What You Need to Know About Canada’s Cannabis Act

Yesterday was a historic day for Canadians, as the Cannabis Act passed through the Senate after two years of intense debate. The landmark decision makes Canada the first G-7 country to legalize cannabis recreationally, with the first legal stores expected to open by September.

The bill passed on a vote 52 to 29, with several opposing Senators cited concerns that legalization for non-medical cannabis violated the UN drug control treaties.  Yet despite heated opposition, Bill C-45 is now making its way into law and is expected to come into effect 8-12 weeks after Royal Assent which is expected by the week’s end.

Independent Senator Tony Dean who sponsored the bill was elated celebrating the end of cannabis prohibition in Canada, “We have seen in the Senate tonight a historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition of cannabis in this country, 90 years of needless criminalization, 90 years of a just-say-no approach to drugs that hasn’t worked.” Dean emphasized, “I’m proud of Canada today. This is progressive social policy.”

Amendments that were originally proposed by the Senate were struck down by the House of Commons, could have been disastrous for the industry. Originally, the Senate had proposed a ban on all cannabis swag, including t-shirts and tote bags and attempted to reinforce the province’s ability to ban homegrown cannabis.  Under the Cannabis Act, every Canadian can grow up to 4 plants which certain Senators complained would increase children’s access to cannabis. Senators ironically also attempted to decriminalize adults giving their children cannabis as young as age 16.

The Senate has also originally proposed disclosure of foreign investment, as millions of dollars poured into float Canadian cannabis companies from offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. These amendments were struck down by the House of Commons and did not make it

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