Legal pot gets green light after Canadian senators sign off

Legalisation of the drug was a 2015 campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

On Tuesday, Canada officially became the second nation in the world to legalize cannabis at a federal level (Uruguay was the first), when the Senate approved Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will choose the specific date on which the law will take effect, and legal sales are expected to begin within eight to 12 weeks.

This comes shortly after Canadian lawmakers passed the bill to legalize marijuana in the country via a 52-29 vote in the Senate.

The federal government is reminding Canadians that up until october 17, pot remains illegal in this country until the Cannabis Act goes into effect.

The country is the first in the G7 to legalise the drug's recreational use.

Under the new legislation, adults - either 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory - can legally buy, grow and consume cannabis in limited amounts.

The federal government is imposing a marijuana excise tax of $1 (Canadian) per gram or 10 percent of the sale price, whichever is higher.

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For instance, it is illegal to order marijuana online and have it sent through the mail in the USA, but Canadians will be able to do so once the law comes into effect.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould cautioned that recreational use remains illegal until the law is fully implemented, and suggested Trudeau may announce the transition date at a press conference later on Wednesday (Thursday NZT).

"It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits", the prime minister said in a Twitter message posted after the vote. Blair said because they have been given the ability to set regulations in their jurisdictions as to how a legalized marijuana regime will operate, this extra time will allow for the final set up of retail establishments and get online systems up and running. And although the House didn't agree to all of the changes, the Senate made a decision to agree to give in to the updated bill. "We're on the cusp of a sensible, responsible and equitable cannabis policy", she said.

CBC reports Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday that the provinces didn't hold back in asking for more time to prepare for this change. The Act has a built-in eight- to twelve-week buffer period after Royal Assent is given to allow provinces time to finalize the logistics of their legalization and distribution plans. Today, we change that.

While production of cannabis is regulated by the federal government, provinces and cities have more powers over retail sales either through private or government-owned stores. If that number holds true, marijuana would pass the liquor industry's profits in Canada.

In the US, nine states have legalized recreational marijuana.

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