Legislation to legalize marijuana, which has already been passed by Canada’s House of Commons, has been given approval by a key Senate committee.
The Senate committee passed 40 amendments Monday to Bill C-45, including one that would allow provinces and territories to ban homegrown marijuana. Most of the other amendments were technical in nature and didn’t fundamentally change the measure (29 of the 40 were actually introduced by the bill’s primary sponsor).
Bill C-45 was passed by the House of Commons in November by a vote of 200 to 82. In March the Senate voted 44 to 29 to pass it through its 2nd reading. The measure must now be passed through a third reading in the Senate before it can be sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval).
If the measure does become law as Prime Minister Justin Trudea has promised, the possession and personal cultivation of marijuana will become legal for those 18 and older. The measure would establish a system of licensed brick-and-mortar cannabis retail outlets, while also allowing cannabis to be sold online.
During the Senate committee vote members defeated defeated an amendment that would have indefinitely delayed implementation of the legislation until the government reports to both houses of Parliament on the measures it’s taking to deal with the concerns of Indigenous communities. They also defeated an amendment to ban personal cultivation outright.
The committee’s amended version of the bill will now go back to the Senate as a whole, where senators will decide whether to accept or reject the amendments or propose additional changes, reports the Canadian Press.
The various factions in the Senate have agreed to hold a final vote on the bill by June 7, which would allow the Trudeau government to deliver on its promise to have the legal recreational cannabis regime up and running by late summer.