Canada has for some time now, been one of the leading countries in the world of marijuana. With medical cannabis legalized throughout the country for several years now, much of the public is still hoping to see recreational weed being legalized in the near future.
Canada reached a huge milestone today, March 22nd, as the Cannabis Act passed its second reading with an overwhelming majority of votes. The passing of this act paves the way for more individuals to come into the space and research the law prior to a final reading which will happen in June.
Before the passing of the vote, many individuals thought that it could potentially be vetoed which would force a restart of the entirety of the marijuana legalization process that has gotten this far. Trudeau has constantly reiterated his plan to make cannabis legal recreationally by the end of this summer, so this would have been a major halt to his work.
The conservative side of the government in Canada has been quick to judge the bill complaining that it does not do anything to solve the issue of organized crime or that it had been written poorly. Some senators such as Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, went so much as to say that the bill should simply be rewritten. This is unlikely, but the opposition does continue to present an alternative side to something that so much of the public stands for. Other senators have stated that this bill will endanger young people and increase the amount of individuals who are smoking. To help prevent this rhetoric from making its way into the minds of those voting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged senators, both liberal and independent, to vote the bill into place and due to the hard work of the government and the people, that’s exactly what happened.
The bill represents quite a large milestone for the country, and was met with an applause by the Cannabis Canada Association. They stated that “we’re thrilled that the Senate has chosen the path of responsibility and regulation as opposed to the stigma and prohibition of past decades. Today represents another important millstone for our industry, for Canada, and for good public policy.” The acting executive director of the group, Allan Rewak continued to state that “Prohibition has failed. Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis consumption in the world, and a significant number of our citizens are consuming products grown illegally, without any controls or oversight,” added Neil Closner, chairman of the Cannabis Canada Board. “Today’s vote is one step closer toward the creation of a regulated adult consumer use system that keeps cannabis away from kids and profits away from organized crime.”
Many of the small businesses who depend on marijuana for their income, are quite happy to see the passing of this bill. Andrew Wnek, the CEO of Beleave which is an Ontario based cannabis producer, stated that “we were confident the bill would pass second reading. We feel that both the medical use of cannabis and the legalization of recreational cannabis is inevitable for Canada and the world.”
Other business owners have also shared in the joy of the bill passing such as John Fowler, the CEO of Supreme Cannabis. He stated that “today is another milestone in Canada’s march towards pioneering a new approach to the sensible regulation of cannabis. Our government has shown a commitment not only to challenging traditional norms of drug regulation, but also to consult broadly with Canadian stakeholders.” As the industry on marijuana in Canada continues to grow, the passing of this bill during the third and final round will be crucial to growth in the country for marijuana. Although another vote is still needed, the future of cannabis in Canada continues to look bright.