Canada's Upper House of Parliament passed a historic bill on Wednesday making the country the first Group of Seven (G7) nation to legalise recreational use of marijuana.
The Senate voted 52-29 in favour of the bill from the House of Commons, allowing marijuana to be legally sold within eight to 12 weeks in the country. The legalisation of cannabis was a huge part of Justin Trudeau's Liberals election campaign in 2015, arguing that legalisation would keep pot out of the hands of underage users and reduce related crime.
"It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate," Trudeau said in a tweet.
Canada's progress will be closely watched by several other nations all considering the same path. The regulatory rollout of the first major economy to fully legalise cannabis will provide a guideline for nations around the world, who are grappling with the regulation of cannabis.
Another key player will be the global investors who have poured billions into Canadian marijuana firms since Trudeau's promise. Companies like Canopy Growth Corp, Aphria Inc, Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF and Aurora Cannabis Inc have been receiving large amounts of investments as part of the move to legalise recreational use of marijuana nationwide.
The legalisation process was initially planned for a July launch but was delayed due to the lack of approval from the Senate.
In Canada, production of cannabis is carefully regulated by the federal government but cities and provinces have more autonomy when it comes to retail and sales, either through private or government-owned stores.
"I'm feeling just great," CBC News quoted Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, as saying. "The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government."
[With inputs from Reuters]