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Canadian senate clears cannabis legalization

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The Canadian Senate voted Tuesday to legalize cannabis, bringing Canada one step closer to becoming the first G7 country to authorize consumption and production of the mind-altering drug.

Just a day before, the House of Commons passed by 205 votes to 82 the bill that must now receive royal assent by the governor general before becoming law, likely by September. The step is only a formality.

The Senate, which could have delayed but not blocked the legislation — passed it with a 52-29 vote.

The measure ends prohibition of cannabis that had been in place in Canada since 1923. It was effectively legalized for medical use nearly two decades ago, in 2001.

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Legalizing weed was a 2015 campaign promise of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has acknowledged smoking a joint with friends “five or six times” including since being elected as an MP.

Uruguay approved the recreational usage of marijuana five years ago and nine US states and the capital Washington have done so too, but Canada will be the first Group of Seven country to take the step.

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