Canada’s Senate Votes To Pass Legislation That Will Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

Canada’s Senate has passed the legislation needed to fully legalize recreational marijuana in the country.

The Senate’s approval in a vote Tuesday night clears the way for a ceremonial signing to officially make Bill C-45 law and legalize recreational marijuana use nationwide in Canada. The exact date it will take effect remains unclear, and Senators said another 12-weeks beyond that may be needed for producers and retail stores to prepare for their first sales of the drug.

The Senate voted 52 to 29 in favour of a revised piece of legislation from the House of Commons, and there were two abstentions. The House version accepted some earlier Senate amendments, while rejecting a contentious one calling for further restrictions on people growing plants in their homes.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pressured the Senate to approve the bill this week before a Parliamentary recess began, allowing the government to keep a pledge for the market to open by the end of this summer. Legalization could create a market worth $7.2 billion and investor anticipation has already created several companies such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. with market values of more than $1 billion.

Despite the legislation passing, Conservative senators raised concerns about slower U.S. border crossings, that kept the bill in the upper house for about seven months. Prime Minister Trudeau countered those concerns with arguments that a regulated market will strip profits from criminal gangs and reduce youth consumption.