Cannabis Reports

Canada’s House of Commons Approves Legalization; Bill Returning to Senate

Lawmakers in Canada’s House of Commons voted 205-82 in favor of Bill C-45, aka The Cannabis Act, on Monday, CBC reports. The legalization bill now returns to the Senate, which has already approved an earlier version of the bill but now must try to reconcile with changes made in the House.

Last time the Senate worked on the bill, Conservative lawmakers insisted on several amendments restricting the scope of the reforms. However, the House rejected many of the Senate’s amendments, including one that would have allowed provinces to individually ban cannabis home grows and another that would have severely limited advertising options for cannabis companies. In total, 13 of the Senate’s proposed changes were rejected.

Senators must now decide whether to accept the House’s changes or not. 

Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, who heads the Independent Senators Group, said that Conservative Senators had offered some thoughtful changes.

“The job of senators is to listen to signals as well. It’s not just to propose amendments willy-nilly with no sense of where the government position is. The Senate does not regularly insist and create a ping-pong between the House and the Upper Chamber. It’s only happened a few times in our history and on very, very consequential bills. I don’t know if this one qualifies … but if senators decide that the explanations are not sufficient and we get to it, then we are in that world again.” —  Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, in a radio interview

If Senators accept the House’s version of the bill this week, officials expect cannabis to be available across Canada for individuals who are 19 or older by September — though it will ultimately fall to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to choose the actual launch date.

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