Canada’s Senate has passed the bill to legalize cannabis onto a second reading, moving it to five committees for further study, according to a report from the CBC. The measure passed 44-29, mostly across party lines; a defeat would have pushed the bill back to the lower chamber and jeopardized the chances of the program rolling out this summer.
All of the Senate’s 28 Conservative senators who were present voted against the measure, while all but one Independent voted for the bill.
Peter Harder, the federal government’s Senate representative, called the passage “an important statement by the majority that this bill must advance.”
“This is a bill that is of high interest to the Senate. There are many issues to be dealt with, and it’s important that second reading passed tonight so the Senate could get on with its study, meeting with experts, and deciding if the bill can be improved in any fashion.” – Harder to the CBC
Conservative Sen. Pierre Hugues Boisvenu called the bill “a piece of shit.”
“It doesn’t protect people, it will not exclude organized crime from the production. So, most senators say this bill was written badly. We have to rewrite the bill. It will be a good exercise for us. Every article must be amended.” – Boisvenu to the CBC
There were concerns that Conservatives could delay the measure until there were drugged-driving laws in place. However, the passage could maintain the summer timeline.