Canadian senators passed the Cannabis Act on Thursday, thus crossing a major hurdle to legalize marijuana in the country.
With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to legalizing marijuana by the summer of 2018, the senate passed Bill C-45 — commonly known as the Cannabis Act — by 56 to 30 votes with one abstention. After the vote, the bill will be sent back to the House of Commons, where Parliament members will take a call on the amendments made to the legislation by the senate.
The amendments made by the senate included committing more centers to mental health and addiction services, provinces being given more power over whether citizens can grow the plan at home and tighter restrictions on advertisements, BBC reported.
Liberal leaders believe legalizing the drug would keep it out of the hands of underage users, with Canadians — especially the youth — being one of the heaviest users of marijuana in the world. They also hope the move would bring down related crime rates. But, experts are of the opinion the legalization may not put a dent on black market sales.