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Canada Senate passes Cannabis Act to legalize marijuana

[JURIST] The Canadian Senate passed a bill [text] Friday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana with a vote of 56 to 30 (with one abstaining).

The bill, known as the Cannabis Act, outlines measures to control and regulate how cannabis is grown, distributed, and sold, while prohibiting any promotion, packaging, and labeling that could be "appealing to young persons or encourage its consumption."

The Act outlines its purposes "to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis."

The Cannabis Act will now go back to Canada's House of Commons for approval of amendments that the Senate added, and upon agreement of the final text, it heads to the Monarch or designate—usually the governor general—who can grant Royal Assent.

This puts Canada on track to legal recreational use by their July 2018 goal put forth in April of 2017 [JURIST report].

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