Senate passes marijuana legalization bill

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Canada's Senate on Thursday voted to legalize recreational marijuana, clearing a major hurdle that puts the country on track to become the first Group of Seven nation to permit national use of the drug.

MPs there will now have to decide what to do about the the nearly four dozen amendments to Bill C-45 that were made in the Senate.The government will have to decide whether to approve, reject or modify the changes before returning the bill back to the Senate for another vote.

The federal recreational cannabis bill has been given the greenlight in the Senate, however the it is now heading back to the House of Commons with with almost four dozen amendments. They also included amendments that the House of Commons will need to compromise on before the law can be passed though.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who once said he smoked a joint "five or six times", has supported the bill's passage after pledging to legalize recreational marijuana during the 2015 parliamentary elections.

The Senate has proposed amendments such as tighter restrictions on advertising and giving provinces power to decide whether people can grow marijuana at home.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said earlier this year that marijuana would only go on sale a few months after it was legalized because the new retail system needs time to start working properly. One amendment would allow provinces to prohibit home cultivation of cannabis if they so choose, rather than accept the four marijuana plants per dwelling allowed under the bill. Legalization had already been delayed slightly - Canada once aimed before July 1, then "summer" and now says up to 12 weeks after the bill becomes law.

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