Canada Just Became the Second Country in the World to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

On Tuesday, Canada voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, making it only the second country in the world to legalize it nationwide.

As the New York Times reports, the bill, called the Cannabis Act, passed in the Canadian Senate 52-29. Under the law, it will be legal for adults (anyone over 18) to possess up to an ounce of weed for recreational use, and can grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes. (Though much like in the U.S, Canadian provinces will be able to raise the minimum age to buy and possess marijuana, as well as add other restrictions that would apply within their own provinces.) While there will be an 8 to 12-week buffer period to allow provinces to prepare for the sale and regulation of weed, the law will likely go into effect as soon as mid-September of this year.  

"We have seen in the Senate tonight a historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition of cannabis in this country, 90 years of needless criminalization, 90 years of a just-say-no approach to drugs that hasn't worked," Canadian Sen. Tony Dean told the Times.

Before Canada's historic decision, Uruguay was the only other country in the world in which recreational marijuana use was legal — and as Vox notes, the implications of this are pretty major. Canada, along with the U.S. and most other major world powers, is part of multiple international drug treaties that it is now technically in violation of — though considering the fact that no one in the international community has taken action against Uruguay for its legalization of marijuana, or against the U.S. for allowing states to legalize it, it seems somewhat unlikely that Canada will face any significant consequences. 

In fact, if Canada successfully disregards international drug treaties, it could place added pressure on other developed countries (read: the U.S.) to legalize pot — so Canada's decision today could eventually even have an impact outside its own borders.