Canada Senate approves recreational use of marijuana

Canada's upper house of parliament on Tuesday approved a revised bill to legalize recreational marijuana, setting the stage for the country to become the first Group of Seven nation to legalize cannabis.

The Senate voted 52-29 in favor of the revised bill from the elected House of Commons, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals had made legalizing recreational use of marijuana part of their successful 2015 election campaign, arguing the new law 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.

As the first major economy to fully legalize cannabis, Canada's regulatory rollout will be closely watched by other nations considering the same path - and by global investors, who have already poured billions into Canadian marijuana firms.

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Cannabis industry in Greece
Small bottles containing cannabis seeds are seen at the Balkannabis Expo 2018, in Athens, Greece, June 2, 2018. Picture taken June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Customers and staff are seen inside a store during the Balkannabis Expo 2018, in Athens, Greece, June 2, 2018. Picture taken June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Cans with cannabis buds are seen at the Balkannabis Expo 2018, in Athens, Greece, June 2, 2018. Picture taken June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A man prepares a cannabis-based plate during the Balkannabis Expo 2018, in Athens, Greece, June 2, 2018. Picture taken June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A cannabis plant is seen at the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
People visit the Balkannabis Expo 2018, in Athens, Greece, June 2, 2018. Picture taken June 2, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Cannabis tea packages are seen at the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Visitors taste cannabis-based products during the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A visitor smells a cannabis bud during the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Cannabis-based products vendors wait for customers at the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A visitor touches a cannabis bud during the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A visitor uses an electronic cigarette during the 1st International Cannabis Expo, in Athens, Greece, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A woman (not pictured) holds up a placard that reads, "Smoke signals, Freedom everywhere" during a gathering demanding the legalisation of cannabis in Athens' Syntagma Square, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis
A man rolls a cannabis cigarette during a gathering demanding the legalisation of cannabis in Athens' Syntagma Square, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis
Balkannabis Expo 2018 in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2018. Balkannabis Expo is an international trade show of Hemp and Medical Cannabis businesses and organizations that hosts top cannabis innovators, experts, industry professionals and scientists from all over the world. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Balkannabis Expo 2018 in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2018. Balkannabis Expo is an international trade show of Hemp and Medical Cannabis businesses and organizations that hosts top cannabis innovators, experts, industry professionals and scientists from all over the world. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Balkannabis Expo 2018 in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2018. Balkannabis Expo is an international trade show of Hemp and Medical Cannabis businesses and organizations that hosts top cannabis innovators, experts, industry professionals and scientists from all over the world. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Balkannabis Expo 2018 in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2018. Balkannabis Expo is an international trade show of Hemp and Medical Cannabis businesses and organizations that hosts top cannabis innovators, experts, industry professionals and scientists from all over the world. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Balkannabis Expo 2018 in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2018. Balkannabis Expo is an international trade show of Hemp and Medical Cannabis businesses and organizations that hosts top cannabis innovators, experts, industry professionals and scientists from all over the world. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Canadian marijuana companies like Canopy Growth Corp , Aphria Inc, Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF and Aurora Cannabis Inc have been at the center of investor frenzy surrounding attempts to legalize marijuana for recreational use nationwide.

Legalization has already been delayed from the government's initially planned July launch.

While production of cannabis is regulated by the federal government, provinces and cities have more powers over retail 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."

(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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