Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational cannabis

Canada's Cannabis Act passed on Tuesday, with the legislation expected to take effect in a few months

Canada becomes the second country to legalise cannabis use (Photo: Getty Images)
Canada becomes the second country to legalise cannabis use (Photo: Getty Images)

Canada is to become the second country in the world to fully legalise recreational cannabis.

Canada’s parliament yesterday passed The Cannabis Act in a 22-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed, and sold.

Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.

“We’ve just witnessed a very historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition,” senator Tony Dean told reporters on Tuesday after the vote to pass .

“It ends 90 years of needless criminalisation, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health and community health in favour of just-say-no approaches that simply failed young people miserably.”

The country is the second worldwide to legalise the drug's recreational use.

Uruguay became the first country to legalise the sale of cannabis for recreational use in December 2013, while a number of US states have also voted to permit it.

Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001.

The bill will likely receive Royal Assent this week, and the government will then choose an official date when the law will come into force.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that until now, "it's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits".

Some Conservative MPs and senators voiced their disappointment as the bill passed on Tuesday. “Sad day for Canada’s kids,” senator Linda Frum

Conservative senator Leo Housakos said: “When you normalise the use of marijuana and you’re a young person and you had certain reservations because of the simple fact that it was illegal, there’s, I believe, a propensity to have somebody be more inclined to use it.”

Once legalisation goes into effect, Canadians will be able grow up to four plants in their own home and carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use. Those caught with more than this amount, or who supply marijuana to minors will face penalties.

The minimum age of consumption will fluctuate between 18 or 19 years depending on the province.

In 2015, Canadians were estimated to have spent about C$6bn ($4.5bn, £3.4bn) on cannabis - almost as much as they did on wine.

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