"We heard from provinces and territories who told us they needed more time to transition to this new framework", he said.
"Over the following months and indeed years we will completely replace or nearly completely replace the organised crime market on that", he told a news conference.
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.
Marijuana sales will become legal in Canada beginning October 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, making it the first major economy to legalize its recreational use. Distribution and sale of the drug is expected to begin by summer's end. Those caught selling marijuana to a minor could face stiff penalties of up to 14 years in jail.
A 2017 report by investment firm Canaccord Genuity (TSE:CF) predicted that legal cannabis prices (recreational and medicinal) would remain constant at around $8 per gram until 2019 or 2020, with illicit market prices ranging from $8-$9 per gram. Today, we change that.
"It ends 90 years of needless criminalization, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health and community health in favor of just-say-no approaches that simply failed young people miserably". In the other provinces and territories it will be 19, which is the minimum alcohol purchase age in all those jurisdictions except for Manitoba.
Bill Morneau, Canada's finance minister, said that he expects the government to rake in almost 300 million Canadian dollars from the taxes on legalized cannabis.
Legalizing marijuana on a recreational, national level was one of Trudeau's campaign promises, and "was seen as one of the reasons for the Liberal's strong showing among youth voters in the 2015 election".
Starting with Colorado and Washington in 2012, nine US states and the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana for adult use.
Senators also dropped their insistence on amendments to the bill, most notably one that would have authorized provincial and territorial governments to prohibit the home cultivation of marijuana plants if they choose.
The news was greeted with enthusiasm by marijuana advocates in the U.S.
Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, legalizes marijuana but leaves it up to each province to decide how to sell it.