Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise to speak to Bill C-330, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This private member's bill proposes to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow regulations to be made that would require written consent from landlords in the event that their tenants were producing or selling a controlled substance within leased space. If applicable, Bill C-330 would also establish a mandatory requirement for the Minister of Health to report back to Parliament on an annual basis to explain why such regulations had not been made.
As my colleagues know, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is a legal framework for the control of substances that can alter mental processes and that may produce harm to individuals or society when diverted to an illegal market. Under this act, it is illegal to conduct certain activities with respect to controlled substances or precursors, unless authorized by regulation or granted by an exemption.
If I may, I will take the opportunity to correct an issue of language. My colleague and friend across the aisle, in his remarks, referred frequently to a prescription for medical marijuana. I want to take the opportunity to clarify, if I may, that there is no such thing as a prescription for medical marijuana. It is, in fact, an authorization, which provides for an exemption under the current criminal prohibition, as directed by the courts in the Allard decision, and as incorporated into regulations under the new ACMPR regulations.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act includes broad authorities that enable the government to strictly regulate the production and sale of controlled substances.
I would like to articulate a number of the reasons the government is unable to support Bill C-330. When introducing the bill on December 14, the member for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo indicated that it sought to address concerns from landlords about tenants growing cannabis for medical purposes in leased premises. Bill C-330 could, in fact, have implications for a number of parties that are regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act who operate within leased facilities. This could include, for example, licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes and licensed producers and dealers of other controlled substances.
If a licensed producer or dealer of a controlled substance is operating in a commercially rented facility, the lease agreement will typically include details on the specific activities that are taking place within the facility, making the landlord aware that controlled substances are being produced there. The landlord would, therefore, consent by way of approving the lease.
To obtain a federal licence to commercially produce cannabis for medical purposes in cases in which the applicant is not the owner of the site, an application must be accompanied by a declaration by the owner of the site consenting to its use for the proposed activity, and like federally licensed producers and dealers of controlled substances, including licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes, individuals authorized to produce cannabis for their own medical use are subject to regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Cannabis for medical purposes is regulated under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.
These regulations aim to provide reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes for Canadians who have received an authorization from their health care practitioners. Under these regulations, Canadians can legally cultivate a determined amount of cannabis for their own medical use or designate someone to produce it for them. These regulations contain landlord consent requirements applicable to personal and designated production if the production site is not the ordinary place of residence of the applicant or the designated producer, and the site is not owned by them.
Finally, as members of this House also know, Bill C-45, the cannabis act, is currently before the other place. This act would create a strict framework to control and regulate the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis using a public health approach, in which public health and public safety objectives would be at the forefront. Should it receive royal assent, cannabis would no longer be regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Regulations with respect to cannabis, for both medical and non-medical purposes, would be enacted under the cannabis act, and this would include the landlord consent requirements that currently apply to cannabis for medical purposes, about which I have previously spoken.
Under this new legal framework, adults would be permitted to legally possess and purchase limited amounts of cannabis through a government-licensed retailer. Subject to applicable provincial, territorial, and municipal rules, adults may also be allowed to cultivate up to four plants at their place of residence.
Allowing for the cultivation of a small number of cannabis plants at home supports the government's objective to displace the illicit market. It is a reasonable way to allow adults to cultivate cannabis for their own personal use, while prohibiting any commercialization and sale of that which is produced for personal use and which prohibits large-scale grow ops, which will attract the criminal sanctions contained within that bill.
The approach our government is taking with respect to home cultivation is consistent with the advice we received from the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation and with the approach that has been taken by most jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized and regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.
Provinces and territories have the authority and can assess the need for additional restrictions within their jurisdictions, and they will be responsible for enforcing those rules. In fact, some provinces have already chosen to incorporate such restrictions in their proposed legislation, and I will give some examples.
New Brunswick would require a locked enclosure around outdoor cultivation and a separate locked space for any indoor cultivation.
Alberta has proposed that all cultivation will take place only indoors and it will allow landlords and strata councils to restrict cannabis cultivation.
Nova Scotia has recently proposed to provide landlords with the ability to ban the smoking and growing of cannabis within rental units.
These are just a few examples of how provincial legislation would be used and relied upon to establish rules that are tailored to each province.
Additionally, each municipality has the ability, through its zoning and bylaw jurisdictions, to enact additional regulations to control and to ensure this conduct is done in a way which is safe and socially responsible.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsor of the bill for providing us with an opportunity to debate this important matter.