Canada: Senate Approves Historic Cannabis Regulation Measure

Ottawa, Canada: Members of the Canadian Senate voted late last week in favor of Bill C-45, sweeping legislation amending the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so that those over the age of 18 may legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use quantities of cannabis.

Since Senate members added amendments to the bill, it now returns to the House for a concurrence vote. Members of the Canadian House of Commons had overwhelmingly voted in November in favor of a previous version of the measure.

Once reconciled by both chambers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who campaigned on a pledge to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana sales – is expected to move promptly to enact the historic legislation. Legal cannabis retailers, acting in compliance with the forthcoming law, are anticipated to be operational by late summer/early fall.

Under the pending legislation, those age 18 and older will be legally permitted to possess and purchase personal use amounts of marijuana. Households will also be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants for personal use, though provinces are empowered to establish alternative limits. Those who possess greater amounts will face civil sanctions. Commercial marijuana production will be licensed by the federal government, while retail distribution of marijuana will be regulated by individual provinces. The new law will not amend Canada’s existing medical cannabis access regulations, which permit registered patients to grow or purchase cannabis from authorized licensed producers.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.