Cannabis Act

An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Sponsor

Status

In committee (Senate), as of March 22, 2018

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Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale.

The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis.

The Act

(a) establishes criminal prohibitions such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis;

(b) enables the Minister to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis, as well as to suspend, amend or revoke those authorizations when warranted;

(c) authorizes persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis if they are authorized to sell cannabis under a provincial Act that contains certain legislative measures;

(d) prohibits any promotion, packaging and labelling of cannabis that could be appealing to young persons or encourage its consumption, while allowing consumers to have access to information with which they can make informed decisions about the consumption of cannabis;

(e) provides for inspection powers, the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties and the ability to commence proceedings for certain offences by means of a ticket;

(f) includes mechanisms to deal with seized cannabis and other property;

(g) authorizes the Minister to make orders in relation to matters such as product recalls, the provision of information, the conduct of tests or studies, and the taking of measures to prevent non-compliance with the Act;

(h) permits the establishment of a cannabis tracking system for the purposes of the enforcement and administration of the Act;

(i) authorizes the Minister to fix, by order, fees related to the administration of the Act; and

(j) authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting such matters as quality, testing, composition, packaging and labelling of cannabis, security clearances and the collection and disclosure of information in respect of cannabis as well as to make regulations exempting certain persons or classes of cannabis from the application of the Act.

This enactment also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things, increase the maximum penalties for certain offences and to authorize the Minister to engage persons having technical or specialized knowledge to provide advice. It repeals item 1 of Schedule II and makes consequential amendments to that Act as the result of that repeal.

In addition, it repeals Part XII.‍1 of the Criminal Code, which deals with instruments and literature for illicit drug use, and makes consequential amendments to that Act.

It amends the Non-smokers’ Health Act to prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in federally regulated places and conveyances.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Nov. 27, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 27, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (recommittal to a committee)
Nov. 21, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 2017 Failed Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 21, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
June 8, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
June 8, 2017 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (reasoned amendment)
June 6, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, we have to recognize that the present approach on cannabis is not working and we are presenting a solution to an existing problem. We recognize that many of our Canadian youth already consume cannabis. They are obtaining the product illegally and the product is not regulated or controlled. Therefore, our approach is a public health approach. We truly want to ensure we legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis by our youth.

When it comes to the age of 18, we consulted broadly with the task force, and it made that recommendation. With respect to provinces and territories, we are all aware that if they choose to make the age higher than 18, it is absolutely their choice.

Again, I have to make it very clear. We are taking a public health approach with respect to Bill C-45. We want to protect the health and safety of our children. During this process, we certainly are not encouraging the use of cannabis. It is quite the contrary. We want to ensure we can limit access to it by youth.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I have not heard a positive word in my riding about the legislation.

The police force, the schools, the health providers, and young people in my riding see this as anything but positive for our culture and our young people. Young people knew this was coming from the moment the Liberals won the opportunity to govern. Whenever I was in a school, which was often, the first question they would ask me was what I thought about legalizing marijuana. Of course, I reversed the question back to them. Their response was “We don't want this.”

Science says that this will cause damage to the brains of young people up to the age of 25. Does the health minister not understand that she is encouraging a behaviour that is not positive for the very people for whom she is responsible? Is she prepared for what will come forward in the next three years and how in the world will the Liberals turn this around? I believe the only reason we are—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, to the contrary, we are presenting a solution to an already existing problem in our country. We recognize that the rate of Canadians who consume cannabis is extremely high and we are absolutely taking a public health approach when it comes to this. We want to ensure we legalize, strictly regulate, and control access to cannabis, specifically to our youth.

We have brought forward Bill C-45 to address exactly that. We are not encouraging the use of cannabis by any means, but we are recognizing that the rate of consumption among Canadian youth is already very high and we are absolutely addressing that specific issue.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, as indicated, we are absolutely providing a solution to an existing problem, because we recognize that many youth are consuming cannabis that is illegal, unregulated, and the list goes on.

Through Bill C-45, we have made significant investments with respect to education and awareness. We want to make sure we start that process before the bill receives royal assent, as well as afterward.

We are going to be starting a public education campaign, and have already done so, with examples like Drug Free Kids. We have been able to partner with them, and over 120,000 tools from Drug Free Kids have already been given to Canadians. That tool provides Canadians with information regarding the risks associated to cannabis. It will also provide parents, service providers, and mentors to children with the information they need to have that difficult conversation that will sometimes be needed with youth.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, New Democrats support the legalization of cannabis, and we are supportive of Bill C-45. However, we expected the Liberal government to be respectful of the concerns of the provinces.

I would like to ask the Minister of Health a simple question. Why, on the very day that the provinces were asking for more time, would the Liberal government impose time allocation on Bill C-45? Why would the Liberal government be so disrespectful?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, since our party has formed government, we have been working with the provinces and territories in preparation of Bill C-45. We continue to have high level meetings with provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders every three weeks in order to properly prepare for the royal assent of this bill. This comes as no surprise to Canadians and to provinces and territories. We work in close collaboration with our provinces and territories and we will continue to do so, all the way through the process of this legalization.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I am not sure who the hon. colleague is talking about, who they are working very closely with, because provincial organizations, provinces, municipal governments, as well as police authorities across our nation, are all asking for more time for this legislation to go through so they can prepare.

I also met with indigenous leaders from my area in northern British Columbia this past week, and they are all saying the same thing. We face an incredible amount of trouble with the timing of this bill. They are combatting drug use and trying to educate their youth against drug use. All of a sudden this bill is going to come in, which is being rushed through, and those services and tools are not being provided to help combat it.

Which indigenous communities is my colleague working with, and what is the plan for the government to go into these communities to try to combat the excessive drug use that this legislation will promote?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, once again, we have been committed to working closely with the provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders. As indicated, we have a committee that meets every three weeks with the provinces, territories, and indigenous leaders to make sure we are properly prepared for when this bill receives royal assent and we can move forward.

We are absolutely committed to working with our indigenous communities and, once again, we are working closely with them. We continue to have dedicated discussions to share information and understand the unique indigenous perspectives when it comes to this bill. Again, we have been working closely with them for the past two years, and we will continue to do so to ensure we can have timely passage of this bill.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the question posed by my colleague from Courtenay—Alberni. The minister says she is talking with indigenous leaders and ministers of health and justice from across the country repeatedly. However, they are still very unhappy, as are police chiefs, about the lack of time to implement this extremely complicated move to legalize marijuana. This is a huge download on the provinces and territories.

How can the Minister of Health say she is consulting when she is still refusing to give provinces and territories more time and has shut down debate in this House? It is undemocratic and unfair.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I can absolutely confirm that we are consulting with provinces and territories and indigenous leaders. Just last month, I had my first provincial and territorial meetings that were held in Alberta, and also our indigenous leaders were there. We had a wholesome discussion with respect to the issue of this bill. With respect to the consultation approach, we are absolutely full out and doing that.

We have to recognize that the current approach to cannabis is not working, and that is why there is urgency in moving forward. We recognize that Canadian youth right now have access to cannabis, and we want to legalize, strictly regulate, and control access to ensure that our children will not have access to cannabis. That is exactly why we are moving forward with respect to this process.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

I am pleased to rise today to once again speak to an issue that I, and many Canadians, care deeply about. I am thankful to be given the privilege to speak to Bill C-45 at third reading. This is a piece of legislation that addresses an issue very close to me. Today I am going to speak to why I oppose Bill C-45.

First and foremost, marijuana is a dangerous drug. The Liberal government should not push through this legislation. This is not what is right for Canadians. In theory, the purpose of this bill is to protect public health and public safety. In practice, Bill C-45 will not achieve this goal. One of the main concerns regarding this legislation is accessibility to drugs. Bill C-45 does not keep marijuana out of the hands of children. It allows it to be grown in households. If marijuana is in people's homes, what message is that sending to our kids? This legislation does not keep our children healthy and/or safe. I hear from concerned constituents almost every day who are confused about this legislation and are worried about what it means for their families. The Liberal government cannot recklessly continue to push through this legislation.

We know that marijuana is a dangerous drug. We know that it is damaging to the human body and addictive. We know it causes harmful effects on youth brain development and greater incidents of psychosis and schizophrenia. However, despite all of these side effects, the Liberal government is set to ensure that marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018.

I oppose this legislation entirely. I choose to listen to the concerns raised by the scientists, doctors, and law enforcement officials. I want to advocate for the voices that are not being heard with respect to this legislation, those who say it is being rushed through without proper planning or consideration for the negative consequences of such complicated legislation.

The passing of Bill C-45 would lead to negative repercussions at the global level. I have spoken before to this concern, but it is an important one. If this legislation passes, Canada will be in violation of three international treaties. Therefore, how can Canada hold other countries to account on their treaty obligations when Canada does not honour its own?

There are various issues regarding this legislation, which has led me to conclude that it is thoughtless, irresponsible, and rushed. The only goal it has is to reach the arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2018. The Liberal government is not listening to the medical professionals. It is not listening to our police forces. It is not even listening to the concerned Canadians, who believe that this bill is fundamentally flawed and is being rushed through Parliament in order to meet this arbitrary and irresponsible deadline. For these reasons, and many more, I am entirely opposed to this legislation. The science is clear that marijuana is dangerous.

I want to touch further on the issues with respect to our children and families. The last thing we want is youth consumption to increase. We do not want our children to have increased risks of mental health disorders. We should be setting up our children to succeed. When it comes to youth, I know we all want to ensure they are safe, able to have a better life, and have more opportunities than we did. Bill C-45 will not help us achieve this goal for our children. Allowing easier access to drugs will not leave our children better off.

Currently, the bill recommends the age of 18 as the federal minimum. However, the provinces are being given the power to set a higher age. This is problematic. If we talk to our southern neighbours, the United States, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana and set 21 as the minimum age. Ontario presently says it will set the minimum age at 19 and Alberta at 21. We know this is not safe. Countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, countless medical professionals have testified that the brain continues to develop until the age of 25. According to the Canadian Medical Association, increased use of marijuana before the age of 25 increases one's risk of developing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety by up to 30% compared to those who have not used marijuana under the age of 25.

The government cannot go through with this. Is this what we want for our children? I have said it before and will say it again. This is most certainly not what I want for my children. This is not what I want for my constituents and this is not what I want for Canadians.

For these reasons, the Canadian Medical Association and various other medical professionals recommended increasing the age a person can consume marijuana to 21 at the very least. As it stands, the government will fail our children if it goes through with this legislation. The government claims that this legislation will control the drug, but in reality it will allow its use to become out of control.

The vast majority of witnesses at the health committee spoke strongly against home grown marijuana in their testimony, including most medical groups and the police forces that appeared. Allowing home grown marijuana will most certainly not help us to regulate the industry. Further, police have said at the health committee that because they cannot see inside homes, they will be unable to enforce a plant per household quota. Even more concerning is that a large network of legal home grows could easily become an organized crime network, and this could happen next door to anyone.

Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. We are parliamentarians. We are representatives of our constituents and we need to ensure that all voices are heard. People are concerned about this drug. We as elected officials can and should provide guidance on this drug to reflect the views of all Canadians. When it comes to health and safety, Canadians deserve the best. This legislation is not what is best for Canadians.

There are only 218 days to go until the arbitrary date of July 1, 2018. Let me be clear: let us not rush through this legislation. We need to do what is right for Canadians. The provinces, the municipalities, and police forces are not ready to implement this legislation. I cannot support Bill C-45.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, when the Conservatives stand up, they consistently talk about there being a problem if the bill passes, but they fail to recognize that the problem is there today. We have a serious problem with cannabis consumption by our youth. Their usage is recognized as among the highest in the world.

In my constituency and all constituencies there are criminal elements that go into our schools to sell marijuana to our children, to 12-, 14-, and 15-year olds. We finally have a government that has taken a proactive approach to deal with the issue. We have a government that made a commitment in the last election to do exactly what it is doing today. It is a part of the election platform. We are stepping forward and trying to resolve some very complicated issues.

Would the member across the way not recognize that the status quo just does not work? The numbers and what is happening to our young people in our schools today—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, there is a huge problem, but we are going to make it worse. This is the main concern of police officers and the Canadian Medical Association. Everyone spoke against it. For example, if marijuana plants are allowed to grow in homes and on every street corner, marijuana will be available. People could go to Shopper's Drug Mart and it would be available. This is making the overall situation worse. Yes, there is a problem, but the Liberals are making it worse down the road.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 24th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, earlier this week, I had representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities sit down and have a chat with me. One of their major concerns is the pace of the legalization of marijuana and how communities themselves have a lot of work to do to prepare. I wonder if the member could share with the House whether he shares those concerns and how the government needs to support communities in this process.