Canada clears major hurdle in legalising recreational marijuana

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As part of legalization, the Canadian government will probably inform citizens that admitting to marijuana use might get them barred from crossing the border into the US, which classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug with "no now accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse", according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Senate has approved the Trudeau government's landmark legislation to lift Canada's 95-year-old prohibition on recreational cannabis - but with almost four dozen amendments that the government may not entirely accept.

If the Senate passes the bill with those amendments, it will go back to the House of Commons, where the government will decide whether to approve, reject or modify the changes before returning it to the Senate for another vote.

The vote on Thursday sends the bill back to the House of Commons, where members of Parliament will decide whether to accept the dozens of amendments added to the legislation by the Senate. The sale for legal pot will start on July 1, Canada's national day.

It would then be up to Canada's ten provinces and three northern territories to set up distribution networks and enforcement.

This act would also allow adults to purchase dried or fresh cannabis and oil from a provincially-licensed retailer, grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use and make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home provided that organic solvents are not used.

Another co-sponsor of the measure, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA, said in a statement that Washington "needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana".

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"The decision on home cultivation of up to four plants was based on logic and evidence and it's one that we will continue to establish as part of the federal framework", he told reporters. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce estimates the legal market could approach 6.5 billion Canadian dollars ($5 billion) by 2020, while New Frontier Data projects the market will reach 9.2 billion Canadian dollars ($7 billion) by 2025.

David Joyce, R-Ohio, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would keep in place restrictions such as the bans on the sale of recreational marijuana to people under 21 and on employing anyone under 18 in a cannabis-related job.

In an interview with AFP last month, Trudeau said the world is closely following Canada's plans and predicted several nations would follow suit. "I know exactly what he's doing", Trump said. Warren said. "These archaic laws don't just hurt individual people, they also prevent businesses, who are in the marijuana business, from getting access to banking services".

During the debate, independent and independent Liberal senators argued that nearly a century of criminalization has done nothing to stop Canadians, particularly young people, from using marijuana illegally and, thereby, creating a lucrative black market dominated by organized crime.

Trudeau insisted that creating a regulated market would take it out of the hands of crime groups and "better protect communities and children".

The Cannabis Act will also see strict regulation under federal, provincial and territorial governments who would share responsibility for overseeing the new system.

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