Ditching the War on Drugs, Canada is now the second country in the world to legalize recreational use of marijuana. The Canadian Senate voted to legalize marijuana in a 52 to 29 vote, which will give way to “a fully legal marketplace for the plant within the next two to three months,” Common Dreams reported.
The “historic” decision, which already passed in the House of Commons, ends 90 years of prohibition and will likely impact Canada’s criminal justice system.
“Transformative social policy, I think,” Independent Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the Cannabis Act in the Senate, said. “A brave move on the part of the government. Now we can start to tackle some of the harms of cannabis. We can start to be proactive in public education. We’ll see the end of criminalization and we can start addressing Canada’s $7 billion illegal market. These are good things for Canada.”
According to a column in Globe and Mail written by Andre Picard, there were more than 55,000 cannabis related charges against Canadians just in 2016 in which 76 percent were for possession of marijuana.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the decision tweeting, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize and regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”
Not only will recreational use be legal, “Canadian will also be permitted to grow up to four plants in their homes under the Cannabis Act,” Common Dreams reported.
“This is a historic step forward for the movement to end marijuana prohibition,” Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.
Many pro-legalization advocates are calling on “the U.S. to take similar action and adopt a more rational federal marijuana policy,” Tvert said. Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries in the world to fully legalize recreational marijuana.