Canada is poised to make history this week as the first G7 country to legalize recreational marijuana.
The Canadian Senate will vote on Bill C-45 this Thursday, which would legalize the use and purchase of marijuana for individuals over 18. The bill has already passed the House of Commons and is also expected to be passed by the Senate, which has reviewed it for six months.
After the vote, the bill will be forced back to the House of Commons to be reviewed again for amendments that were previously made by the Senate. If all goes well, the bill could receive Royal Assent by the end of this week. Such would make the bill an act of Parliament and officially part of the law of Canada.
If the House of Commons doesn't agree with the amendments made by the Senate, the bill will continue to be passed back and forth between the houses until both are satisfied with the final wording.
Once the legislation passes, it is technically law; however, recreational marijuana will not be permitted for sale until two to three months afterwards. According to Deloitte, the industry is expected to generate more than $6 billion for Canada's economy, with $4.3 billion coming from recreational sales and $1.7 billion from medical sales.
Legal recreational marijuana will be sold in plain packaging with limited branding and health warnings indicating the products contain THC, per guidelines set out by Canada's public health agency.
Adults will be permitted to carry a max of 30 g of marijuana. Possession of over that amount in a public space (including one's own vehicle) will result in a prison sentence of up to five years. Driving under the influence of marijuana will also be highly punishable, with $1,000 fines for a first offence, 30 days imprisonment for a second offence, and 120 days imprisonment for subsequent offences.
The legalization will also regulated be at the provincial level. While the upcoming legislation may permit certain activities at the federal level, some provinces may impose their own regulations. For example, not all provinces will have the same rules for smoking marijuana in public or growing marijuana at home.