Sunday 16 December 2018

Canada becomes second country in world to legalise cannabis

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters

Rob Crilly

Canada has passed a new law to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, making good on an election promise by Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party and becoming only the second country in the world to do so.

The Cannabis Act completed its final step in a 52-29 Senate vote.

It means Canada will be the first of the G7 advanced industrial nations to allow the cultivation, purchase and consumption of the drug nationwide once it comes into force.

It joins Uruguay as the only countries to have fully legalised the drug for recreational use.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, said: "This is a historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada as we shift our approach to cannabis.

"This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organised crime."

Medical use has been legal in the country since 1981. The new bill controls how the drug can be grown and distributed for recreational use, introducing offences for selling marijuana to children.

The law bans sales to anyone under 18, although provinces and territories will be allowed to set higher minimum ages. Mr Trudeau announced legal sales would begin on October 17.

Politicians who opposed the laws spoke out yesterday. "Sad day for Canada's kids," Senator Linda Frum tweeted. Senator Leo Housakos said: "When you normalise the use of marijuana and you're a young person and you had certain reservations because of the simple fact that it was illegal, there's, I believe, a propensity to have somebody be more inclined to use it."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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