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Canada passes recreational cannabis bill

The Canadian senate has passed a law that will legalise recreational cannabis use at a nationwide level.

Recreational cannabis use will soon become legal in Canada

The Cannabis Act was passed yesterday (Tuesday 19 June) with 52 votes in favour, 29 against and two abstentions.

An amendment to Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act will legalise recreational cannabis consumption and regulate its production, distribution and sale. Medical cannabis use has been legal in the country since 2001.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits.”

Analysts have estimated that Canada’s cannabis industry was worth US$0.04 billion in 2015, and is estimated to become an US$8bn business by 2020.

While concerns have been expressed over the impact cannabis sales could have on the alcohol industry, a number of spirits groups have eyed an opportunity to combine the two sectors.

US drinks group Constellation Brands acquired a minority stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation for C$245m (US$191m) last year, announcing its intention to move into cannabis-based beverages.

Just last month, the largest drinks distribution firm in North America, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, entered into a partnership with cannabis producer Aphria to distribute its products throughout Canada.

Tory peer William Hague recently called for the UK government to “be as bold” as Canadian liberals with regards to its cannabis policy.

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