OTTAWA – The federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana by next summer is a step closer.
Bill C-45 received final approval Monday in the House of Commons, passing by a vote of 200-82.
It now moves to the Senate, where Conservative senators are threatening to hold up passage of the bill.
That could yet derail the government’s plan to have a legalized pot regime up and running by July.
Some provinces have complained they can’t be ready to implement and enforce the legislation so quickly.
But a Conservative bid to force a delay in its implementation went down to defeat Monday, by a vote of 199-83.
Prior to the vote, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said Commons approval of Bill C-45 marks an “important milestone” in the government’s plans to keep pot profits out of the hands of organized crime and marijuana out of the hands of kids.
She also said she looks forward to further debate in the Senate.
The federal NDP supports the government’s legislation, which was amended to scrap a requirement that home-grown marijuana plants be less than 100 centimetres tall and to require that legislation for cannabis edibles and concentrates be brought forward within a year.
The Conservatives have been pushing for the Liberal government to reconsider its arbitrary timeline for implementing marijuana legalization, arguing it would be more responsible to consider a July 2019 deadline instead of July 2018.