Senate passes cannabis bill

OTTAWA - The Senate has approved the Trudeau government's recreational cannabis bill -- but with nearly four dozen amendments that the government may not entirely accept.

Bill C-45 passed in the upper house last night by a vote of 56-to-30 with one abstention, over the objections of Conservative senators.

The bill must now go back to the House of Commons, where the government will decide whether to approve, reject or modify the changes before returning it to the Senate for another vote.

Once passed, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said that provinces and territories will need two to three months to prepare before retail sales of legal cannabis are actually available.

Most of the Senate's amendments are minor, but about a dozen are significant, including one to allow provinces to prohibit home cultivation of cannabis if they choose, rather than accept the four plants per dwelling allowed under the bill.

Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to prohibit home-grown weed.