Canada may federally legalize marijuana for recreational use before the United States government after a legalization bill passed in the Canadian Senate. The bill still must go to the House of Commons where the government will decide whether to approve or reject the bill before it returns to the Senate for a final vote.
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Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said if the bill passes that provinces and territories will need two to three months to prepare before legal retail sales of cannabis actually begin. The step is a positive one that could help tip the scales in the United States toward federally legalizing the plant.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Canada Holds Historic Vote on Federal Cannabis Legalization Today. <a href="https://t.co/ewPiD89jvb">https://t.co/ewPiD89jvb</a> <a href="https://t.co/12C0fAa4FC">pic.twitter.com/12C0fAa4FC</a></p>— High Times (@HIGH_TIMES_Mag) <a href="https://twitter.com/HIGH_TIMES_Mag/status/1004813708483276800?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 7, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The Canadian Senate did make some amendments to the bill, such as allowing provinces to prohibit the home cultivation of cannabis if that is what they want to do, otherwise, the bill allows for up to four marijuana plants per home. Quebec and Manitoba have already publicly stated they will prohibit people from growing marijuana in their home, but the amendment would negate the possibility of legal challenges to their constitutional authority to ban home-cultivation.
Yet another amendment would apply strict limits to advertising by marijuana companies on products such as T-shirts and hats. Another amendment would make sharing five grams or less of marijuana with a minor who is no more than two years younger. It would also allow parents to share it with their kids, just like they can legally do so with wine or alcoholic beverages.
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Petitpas Taylor didn't comment on the governments position on the many amendments but it appears to be supporting at least 29 of them. The 29 amendments the government is supporting were proposed by Senator Tony Dean, the sponsor of the bill in the upper house.
Conservative Sen. Dennis Patterson argued against legalization saying the "easy availability of this mind-numbing drug" will devastate remote areas where Indigenous people are already struggling with addiction, mental health issues, violence, and suicides. "I believe, and I do fervently hope I'm wrong, that we will pay an intolerable price that we will regret," Patterson said.
He passionately argued that legalizing marijuana would cause "casualties, mental illness, brain damage, and death" despite there being no evidence to support his claims. In fact, crime rates have lowered in U.S. states where marijuana was legalized and had profoundly positive impacts on local economies.
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