Cannabis plant

Canada’s voting on legalising recreational marijuana

They'd be the first major economy to do it (sorry Uruguay)

Canada is voting on a bill to legalise recreational marijuana today, and it looks like people are pretty sure it's going to happen – making it the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalise it for recreational purposes.

What it means: This would be a big precedent for major economies to move towards legalising recreational marijuana.

Several states in the USA have legalised the drug, but not nationwide – meaning investors in the business often do everything in cash for fear of being treated as drug traffickers by the federal system.

If this bill goes through, Canada's going to try regulating the business in a bunch of different ways to figure out what's best for the economy, lowering crime, and improving public health.

One big concern the finance minister has is that private businesses will 'overcommercialise' the drug – he wants to sell it in plain packaging and set prices at just the right level to get rid of black market trade (because it won't be worth the risk if the legal stuff is affordable), but not so low that you're encouraging people to try it out.

If businesses get their hands on it, he says, they may go further to sell more, in ways he's worried could be damaging for public health in the long term.

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