Could Canada’s Senate delay cannabis legalization beyond July?

Canadian senators appointed by Liberal and Conservative prime ministers are openly mulling whether the July 1 deadline set by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legalize recreational marijuana is attainable.

After elected members of the House of Commons pass Bill C-45 – which is expected to happen before Christmas – the marijuana legalization bill heads to the Senate for consideration.

Trudeau Senate appointee André Pratte said ensuring that the legislation is “right” is more important than meeting the “political deadline” of July 1, CBC News reported.

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

What you need to know:

  • Senators have the ability to hold up and revise legislation but rarely reject it.
  • Canada’s unelected and unaccountable senators are tasked with studying and sometimes amending legislation already approved by the elected members of the House of Commons.
  • Senators are appointed by prime ministers and serve until they reach age 75.
  • Trudeau famously kicked all 32 Liberal senators out of the Liberal caucus in 2014 in a bid to reduce partisanship.

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