Canada's Senate votes to approve legal weed

Canada's Senate votes to approve legal weed

Canada's Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide.

In a 52-29 vote with two abstaining, the body passed the final version of the Cannabis Act after days of back-and-forth with the House of Commons over amendments to the bill. 

The bill requires a period of eight to 12 weeks to allow provinces to prepare for the legal pot market, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will decide on the date for legalization to take effect.

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In the days leading up to passage, the House of Commons rejected 13 of the Senate’s 46 proposed amendments, including one that would have allowed provinces to ban homegrown marijuana, and another that would bar cannabis companies from selling branded merchandise. 

The bill lifts a 95-year-old ban on recreational marijuana, though regulated medical marijuana has been legal in the country for nearly two decades.

In the U.S., recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in more than two dozen states.