Senate votes to legalize pot

A young man smokes a marijuana joint during a rally in downtown Vancouver B.C. on Wednesday

CANADA: House Of Commons Votes 205-62 To Legalize Recreational Pot, Bill Now Goes To Senate [VIDEO]

The Canadian parliament has passed a bill to make Canada the first G7 country to allow the use of cannabis for recreational use. Each province is implementing different aspects of the bill in the next 8 to 12 weeks - while the federal government has jurisdiction over parts like illegal sales to minors and assigning licenses to growers, it's up to the provinces to manage retail sales and distribution laws.

Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up its own rules for pot sales.

The Green Party in Ireland have been determined to legalise cannabis for medicinal use for quite some time, but there is no sign of the drug being readily available to Irish people just yet. "Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate", Trudeau said in a tweet.

Legalisation of the drug was a 2015 campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has admitted to smoking a joint "five or six times" with friends - including since being elected as an MP.

The vote will now move the legislation back to the country's Senate, which had already approved a version of the bill.

"It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits", he said on Twitter. "A courageous move on the part of the government", he said, according to CBC.

The Senate's approval in a vote in Ottawa clears the way for the final step - a ceremonial signing - to officially make the bill law. Among the 13 amendments that the federal Liberals have rejected are the proposal to allow the provinces and territories to ban home-grown marijuana; and a proposed change to prohibit pot producers from distributing branded merchandise. We'll see the end of criminalisation and we can start addressing Canada's $7 billion illegal market.

But Ralph Goodale, Canada's public safety minister, told the Senate that his message to Americans is that "this should not be an issue".

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