Canada Senate Gives Approval to Marijuana Legalization

A bill to legalize marijuana, proposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has been passed by the Senate through its third and final reading.

The legislation – C-45 – has already been passed by the House of Commons, but will go back for one final vote on Senate amendments before being sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent (final approval). It was passed by the Senate 56 to 30.

Once the law takes effect, the possession and cultivation of personal amounts of marijuana will be legal for those 18 and older. The law authorizes licensed marijuana businesses to sell marijuana and marijuana products, and also allows online sales (which will be handled similarly to how the country currently allows online medical marijuana sales).

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Canada Marijuana Legalization Plan Released, Would Legalize for Those 18+

The Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has released their plan to legalize marijuana.

As expected, the proposal would legalize the possession, use and licensed distribution of up to 30 grams of marijuana, and would allow a small number of cannabis plants to be cultivated at home for personal use. Unlike the eight states that have legalized the plant in the U.S., Canada is planning to legalize marijuana for those 18+, rather than 21+. This isn’t too out of the norm, however, as it’s the same age limit set by Uruguay, the only nation that has fully legalized cannabis. 18 is also the legal age for alcohol consumption in much of Canada (with it being 19 in other parts).

The government’s plan, including legalizing for those 18+, falls largely in line with what the nation’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommended in their report released in December. Other than a different age limit, the rules set forth in the plan are similar to those in Colorado, the first state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis in 2012.

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Report: Canada to Garner $675 Million Annually from Legal Marijuana

With a standard sales tax placed on legal cannabis, Canada would garner approximately $675 million ($507 million US) annually.

According to the report from the C.D. Howe Institute, “applying only federal and provincial sales tax (GST/HST, PST) results in over 90 percent of the marijuana market being regulated and $675 million in annual revenue”. The report notes that “Any increase in taxes beyond this level serves to increase the share of the black market and generates little additional revenue.”

The Institute breaks it down like this; “With the regulation of marijuana, the government has a choice to make: either legitimize the market or generate large revenues, not both.”

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