Canada’s senate approved C-45 yesterday ending almost a century of cannabis prohibition. The legislation still has to move through the Canadian House of Commons which could ask for more revisions and send it back to the senate, but it is technically now legal for people over 21 to consume cannabis in Canada.
The senate attached nearly 48 amendments to the bill making legalization even stricter than many predicted, which may be cause for the House of Commons to send it back to the senate. However, even if the legislation is accepted as it is, it will likely be months before provinces are able to start selling cannabis commercially.
Most of the Senate’s amendments are minor, but about a dozen are significant, including one to allow provinces to prohibit home cultivation of cannabis if they choose, rather than accept the four marijuana plants per dwelling allowed under the bill. Quebec and Manitoba have already chosen to prohibit home-grown weed, but the amendment would erase the possibility of legal challenges to their constitutional authority to do so.
Another amendment would impose even more stringent restrictions on advertising by cannabis companies, preventing them from promoting their brands on so-called swag, such as T-shirts and ball caps.
Yet another is aimed at recognizing that marijuana is often shared socially. It would make it a summary or ticketing offence for a young adult to share five grams or less of cannabis with a minor who is no more than two years younger and it would allow parents to share it with their kids, as they can with wine or alcohol.
Petitpas Taylor has so far refused to say how the government views the many amendments, but it appears to have given its blessing to at least 29 of them, which were proposed by the sponsor of the bill in the upper house, Sen. Tony Dean.
While Canada remains progressive towards cannabis and understanding all the benefits that legalization brings economically and from a social justice perspective, the U.S. is moving at a snails pace. Do you believe cannabis legalization is on the horizon for the U.S.?