OTTAWA — The Senate has approved the Trudeau government’s landmark legislation to lift Canada’s 95-year-old prohibition on recreational cannabis — but with nearly four dozen amendments that the government may not entirely accept.
Bill C-45 has passed in the upper house by a vote of 56-30 with one abstention, over the objections of Conservative senators who remain resolutely opposed.
The bill must now 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.
Once passed, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said that provinces and territories will need two to three months to prepare before retail sales of legal cannabis are actually available.
Most of the Senate’s amendments are minor, but about a dozen are significant, including one to allow provinces to prohibit home cultivation of cannabis if they choose, rather than accept the four marijuana plants per dwelling allowed under the bill.
Petitpas Taylor has refused to say how the government views the many amendments, but it appears to have given its blessing to at least 29 of them, which were proposed by the sponsor of the bill in the upper house, Sen. Tony Dean.
The Canadian Press