Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on October 17

Canada has voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use

After a Senate vote of 52 to 29 in favour of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now announced today exactly what date Canadians will start being able to legally be able to light up and enjoy recreational weed.

The prime minister did not directly answer that question but said his government has worked in partnership with provinces to take money away from organized crime and protect kids.

Trudeau's Liberal government introduced legislation a year ago in a bid to make Canada the second country in the world to legalise cannabis, after Uruguay.

The provinces will organise the legal sale of cannabis in licensed stores, sometimes in government-controlled liquor stores, according to the new law.

"I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force", Wilson-Raybould told a news conference Wednesday in the foyer of the House of Commons.

"I am confident that at the beginning we're going to take a significant part of the market share right now occupied nearly entirely by organized crime", Trudeau told reporters.

Meanwhile, the situation for home cultivation will remain muddy in Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut, which have all banned home-grow despite the fact the federal legislation allows people to grow up to four plants at home.

"It's not the position of the federal government to challenge particular provincial laws", Wilson-Raybould said. Marijuana purchases must be made through government-approved vendors that will be regulated by state and province.

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"There's a law that was duly passed in Quebec and that's the law of the province", she said. "However, there may arise a challenge by an individual of another jurisdiction's law", she said.

Trudeau said there's "no point" in discussing it until the new laws are in place, a position echoed by Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief and MP who coordinates the marijuana file for the government. There will be an election in Quebec on October 1, which helps to explain why the provincial government sought more time.

Canadian marijuana stocks have rallied in anticipation of legalization and jumped again on Wednesday.

However, despite the legalization, Canadians still need to be wary when travelling south of the border, as marijuana is still illegal in the United States. Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, a Canadian senator, made a recent visit to Washington, D.C. and was told by USA law enforcement that Canadian travellers will soon be subject to stricter scrutiny at the border.

Many of his customers are Canadian tourists who are terrified of trying to bring pot across the border, he said.

In 2001, Canada authorised the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.

"People ask me all the time, 'Isn't legalization in Canada going to hurt your business?'" he said.

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