Canada’s marijuana legalization bill clears major hurdle, heads to Senate

Canada’s House of Commons has approved the third reading of the bill to legalize cannabis, sending the legislation to the Senate for further study.

The bill passed 200-82.

The government compromised on key parts of the legislation, ditching a rule that limited home plants to under 39 inches and requiring legislation for marijuana edibles and concentrates be brought forward within a year.

The bill faces a potentially rough ride in the unelected Senate, where members appointed by liberal and conservative prime ministers have openly mulled whether the July 1 deadline to legalize recreational marijuana is attainable.

Senators have the ability to hold up and revise legislation but rarely reject it.

The Senate was already given a stern warning by Member of Parliament Bill Blair, Ottawa’s point man on marijuana legislation, that “delay is unacceptable.”

Tony Dean, the Liberal senator sponsoring the bill, is also promising to keep the bill on schedule.

University of Toronto political scientist Nelson Wiseman believes the bill will pass on time but said the Senate “is a wild card” given that the Liberals don’t hold a majority of the seats.

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