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 22nd, 2017 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP pointed this out early on, after hearing testimony about the difficulties some people had entering the United States when asked by border guards if they had ever used cannabis and they answered affirmatively. Even though they had used the cannabis legally in Washington state and Colorado, they were denied entry into the U.S. This led to a concern by the NDP that the government should be negotiating, or at least attempting to negotiate, with the Trump administration some form of agreement to recognize the reality that cannabis would be legal in Canada. We do not want to subject Canadians to being turned away at the border or being compelled to lie. The answer we got, unfortunately, was unsatisfactory. It appears that the government has not been entering into those negotiations. There is a real concern that after July 1, 2018, Canadians will be vulnerable in that respect.

I want to end on a positive note. Economically, Canada has a chance to be a global leader in producing safe, quality cannabis products. We are not the only country in the world that will legalize it. Other countries will do it, too. This is a classic industry that is sustainable, high tech, innovative, green. A $5 seed can be turned into $1,000 worth of product. Canadians are global leaders, and that is why we are so adamant that the ban on importation and exportation in Bill C-45 should be changed to give Canadian businesses a chance to tap into that market. This could provide billions and billions of dollars of economic activity once other countries do as Canada does and we abandon the old prohibitionist view of conservative parties around the world.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 22nd, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to discuss this government's plan to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis in Canada.

Bill C-45, the cannabis act, was put forward by this government to confront and address the realities of cannabis use in our country. It happens that Canadians are some of the most avid users of cannabis in the entire world.

In 2015, 21% of those aged 15 to 19 used cannabis regularly. The number was 30% for those aged 20 to 24. It is accessible to our children, it is available in schools, and it funds major organized crime to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Clearly the current approach is outdated, archaic, and just does not work.

Over the years, the Government of Canada's approach to cannabis use devolved into harsh mandatory minimums and unfair criminal justice practices. The reality we have found ourselves in does not match the policies that previous governments have enacted.

I am proud to rise to share with my hon. colleagues in the House and my constituents of Vaudreuil—Soulanges why the cannabis act is the plan we need now to build a safer and better Canada.

We need a new approach, one that takes care of our children and punishes organized criminals rather than everyday Canadians. The cannabis act would revamp the Government of Canada's policies in three key ways, to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis use in Canada.

First, we will prioritize working with the territories and provinces as equal partners to reforming the current cannabis regime in Canada. This work is well under way and it has been for quite some time now.

Second, we will address the simple fact that cannabis is accessible to Canadian teenagers, whether we like it or not.

Third, we will take billions of dollars out of the pockets of organized criminals and gangs.

Each of these pillars is critical for my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges where thousands of new families settle each year, making it one of the fastest-growing ridings in the country. However, they also apply from coast to coast to coast, and work to address challenges we face with our provincial and territorial partners.

Our aim is to set a framework that the provinces and the territories can expand on in ways that best suit them. Our plan will succeed because the cannabis act works with our partners while safeguarding the underlying principles protecting our youth and keeping money out of the hands of criminals.

Working with our provincial partners and, in particular, my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, and the Government of Quebec is the cornerstone of this new approach. Last week, the Quebec government's cannabis legislation was tabled in the national assembly. Its legislation is complementary to the partnership we have established to ensure safety and security for our young people and for our communities.

In Quebec, the government will be creating the société québécoise du cannabis, a parallel body to the Société des alcools du Québec. This model has worked in Quebec to support alcohol regulation and I am confident our partners will get the needs of Quebecers right in cannabis legalization as well.

The strict regulation of cannabis under the cannabis act is designed, first and foremost, to protect Canada's young people. This is particularly important to me as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister for youth, and also as a father of two young children. It is also a priority for the young families that choose to call my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges home. I am sure all members in the House will agree that we owe it to them to get this right, and the cannabis act does not compromise on keeping Canadians safe, particularly young Canadians.

We are setting a national benchmark for a legal age to purchase and consume cannabis at 18 years of age. The Government of Quebec set the same age with its legislation last week.

We will not be punishing our teenagers for possessing up to five grams of cannabis. Instead, we are setting harsher penalties of up to 14 years in jail for selling or giving cannabis to youth or using young people to commit cannabis-related crimes.

This government believes that the abuse of youth by illegal drug trafficking networks is a real crime. I think that my colleagues on both sides of the House and in the provinces and territories share this belief.

We must ensure that young Canadians understand the dangers and potential consequences of using cannabis. In October, we announced an investment of $46 million over five years to raise awareness among Canadian youth of the realities of cannabis use.

By supporting large-scale campaigns to inform and educate Canadians, we are creating widespread awareness of the risks of cannabis consumption. As part of our plan, 114,000 brochures entitled “Cannabis Talk” have already been distributed in partnership with Drug Free Kids Canada.

On November 10, Health Canada hosted a partnership symposium on cannabis public education and awareness. Stakeholders from all sectors gathered in Ottawa to better identify possible actions.

These concrete measures are proof of our commitment to prioritizing health and safety risks based on facts, not on fear or disinformation. This includes prohibiting the use of attractive packaging and labelling in advertising and any other attempt to encourage young Canadians to consume cannabis.

The bill currently before the House would impose fines of up to $5 million, imprisonment for up to three years, or both for distributors who do not comply with the regulations. By setting national standards to meet the challenges associated with the widespread use of cannabis in Canada, we are taking fair action to protect young Canadians without punishing the one-third of adults who use cannabis recreationally.

Our government wants to protect our youth by instead focusing our efforts on organized crime and people who give cannabis to children despite the health risks associated with cannabis use at a young age.

By setting very strict penalties for selling cannabis to young people, our government is sending a clear message about our unwavering commitment to protecting the health and safety of young people first and foremost, in my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, across Quebec, and across the country. This is something that all Canadians can get behind.

Canadians also know that we need to do whatever it takes to keep money out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. The cannabis act will make our streets safer by creating a legal, regulated, and safe supply of cannabis that will be available to all Canadians who have reached the age of majority.

Bill C-45 establishes a framework for purchasing product online or in person and allows Canadians to have access to cannabis outside the black market. The bill also enables the government to set reasonable prices that would be directly competitive with current prices on the black market.

We are also ensuring that those who wish to continue selling cannabis outside of regulated markets will be subject to penalties. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, they will face fines and up to 14 years in prison. This approach will allow the government to remain flexible while also going after the worst offenders.

The cannabis act will keep our young people safe and keep money out of the hands of criminals, thanks to a strictly regulated sales system for this country.

Our government is establishing a framework for our provincial and territorial partners so that the work reflects the will and concerns of the people.

I am proud to contribute to a plan that is built on fact-based decisions and reflects the reality we are currently facing in Vaudreuil—Soulanges, in Quebec, and of course in Canada.

I am proud to be part of a government that is taking action to address a problem that has existed for far too long. It is a problem that has existed for decades, and yet previous governments just made the decision to continue with the status quo. We knew full well the rates were high. In some cases, depending on the age group, rates were going up, but previous governments did nothing. We knew that those who were smoking marijuana, almost one-third in some cases or even more than one-third in certain age groups, were getting a product from organized criminals and drug dealers.

People had no idea what the product had been laced with. It was a product that people knew could have been laced with something that was more detrimental to their health, and yet they had no other option because governments turned a blind eye to the realities of a failing system. We knew the system that existed for the last 10 years and even for decades was putting billions of dollars into the pockets of organized crime.

I can say with a good amount of authority, and I speak on behalf of my caucus members from Quebec, that this had a serious impact on violence and violent crime in my home province of Quebec. Those people who are from Quebec, and who have been following incidents of violent crime related to organized criminal activities in Quebec know there have been significant rises and falls in crime relating to biker gangs, and that the primary source of revenue for these gangs was the illicit sale of drugs. Yet, federal governments did absolutely nothing.

Governments still tried to convince Canadians they were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a system that was working when we knew full well it was not working. We could have done better, and we should have done better, but it required courage to do so. It requires looking back as to why we are all here as members of Parliament.

We are here to put in place systems that work, and to use taxpayers' money effectively. Yet, for decades, we have not been doing that. We have been trying to convince Canadians we had the best possible plan in place, and their hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent properly. We knew full well that was not the case.

Therefore, this is what we did. We first started off by being honest and open with Canadians that this is what we would do if we were elected. Once we were elected, we followed through on that promise and started with national consultations, including committees that met and brought in experts on all sides to talk about how we can best do this. We studied other jurisdictions in the United States and around the world who have seen better success rates in the systems that they had in place. I and other members of Parliament from all sides of this House went across the country, hosting town halls and asking for feedback from our fellow constituents. We worked hard over the last two years to reach out to Canadians and to experts in various fields to make sure we were getting the information to get this right.

Second, we looked at all the data that was in place. There have been many studies that have been put forward talking about health benefits and about other systems that worked better. Because of the data, and because other jurisdictions had the courage to try something new, we were able to look at those jurisdictions, and see that they have reduced rates of cannabis use among their youth. They had reduced violent crime related to organized criminals and street gangs, and they had ensured that money was longer going into the pockets of organized criminals. They managed to do those things because they were brave enough to try something new. Because they tried something new, we are able to look at those jurisdictions and say, “What could possibly work in a Canadian context?”

Third, we have been working with our provincial and territorial counterparts to make sure there is a robust dialogue with them. Now, more than ever, we are also having a dialogue and working with our municipal counterparts to make sure that this is, at all levels of government, something we will succeed in doing, because we are working at it together.

The hope is that we would reduce the rate of consumption and use of cannabis by our youth. For those who do use cannabis regularly, they would get a regulated product that is safer for them to consume, and we would be ensuring we take money out of the hands of organized crime.

Fourth, we would ensure we provide funding where it is necessary, with over $40 million for an educational campaign at the federal level to ensure we are educating young Canadians on the negative effects of cannabis use. This would not be a law that looks to encourage young people to start smoking cannabis. This proposed law, that we are putting forward, is in the hope of reducing use among youth.

Part of that is a $40 million-plus educational campaign to make sure we are doing everything we can to educate young Canadians about the fact that cannabis is not something they should be using, and that there are health effects which could be particularly negative for youth as their brains are still developing. Therefore, we are putting our money where our mouth is, because we know it is a necessary step in putting this proposed law forward.

We would also put forward over $80 million to provide support to law enforcement agencies across the country to give them the tools to better understand how to detect those driving under the influence of cannabis, which is incredibly important. Whether or not we want to admit it in this House, there are already people who are driving under the influence of cannabis, and yet very little has been done, particularly by the previous government, which did very little but turn a blind eye and leave it up to law enforcement to try and figure it out on its own.

The previous government knew full well that the problem already existed, and that those law enforcement agencies could have used additional funding to better train law enforcement officials, and to put in place better systems to find out who was driving under the influence and take appropriate action. Therefore, this money would also go toward providing the tools necessary to test individuals for driving under the influence.

I did not come to this House to do easy work, and I know I speak for many of us who were elected in the election of October 2015. I came here to solve problems, particularly ones that have been plaguing Canada and Canadians for far too long. I say with all sincerity, and I know I share this with young fathers and mothers in this House, and those who have older children, that we need to make decisions now that are going to positively affect our youth later on. We should not leave it up to the next government, regardless of how difficult those decisions are. Instead, we need to make those tough decisions now.

My hope is that when my three-year-old son, Anderson, and my one-year-old daughter, Ellie, are at the age when they are going to high school, that they have a harder time accessing cannabis, that they have an educational system and a campaign in place at all levels of government that does not turn a blind eye to the fact that it is easier to get marijuana on a high school campus than it is to get cigarettes, and that we are actually taking action.

This is the kind of legacy I want to leave for my kids, and that is the kind of legacy that I want to leave for future generations of young Canadians. With that, I encourage all members of this House, regardless of which aisle they sit on, to vote in favour of Bill C-45. Let us take the next necessary steps in protecting our young people.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 22nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member spoke about giving law enforcement the tools with which to work. He also spoke about impaired driving. I would like to give the member a little statistical data.

The Minister of Justice spoke earlier about using scientific data. I wonder if anyone from the Liberal Party decided to phone the state police in Colorado or Washington, because Washington has 33,000 cases of drug driving evidence that it is trying to analyze. They cannot analyze it. It costs $175 per analysis, which is $6 million U.S. The U.S. sheriffs are telling their deputies not to lay charges, because they cannot afford it.

Did the Liberals talk to any law enforcement agencies in some of the states that have legalized marijuana?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 22nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, did my hon. colleague speak to any law enforcement officials here in Canada?

Had he done that, he would have seen that this is not a new problem that would be created by Bill C-45. Right now, there are Canadians who are driving under the influence of cannabis, and nothing was done by the previous government to address that issue.

Here we are. Bill C-45 is on the table. Now it has suddenly become an issue for Conservatives. They suddenly see it as a problem for Canadians. The former Conservative government could have looked at it and said that driving under the influence of cannabis is an issue in this country, and that it was going to work with our law enforcement officials, listen to them, and give them the funding necessary to empower them to do their jobs.

Conservatives have finally woken up and realized that this is an issue. Now, after we have announced over $80 million to provide law enforcement officials with the support they have been asking for for a long time, the previous government has decided to wake up.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 22nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague previously said, we will be supporting this bill.

However, we are concerned about a number of matters that are not being addressed. One of the matters that really troubles me, that I have become aware of, is that the government is refusing to call the opioid tragedy a national emergency. It is now saying that it wants to take measures to try to address opioids, and perhaps limit doctors' prescribing.

The government has decided that Canadians cannot get drug coverage for marijuana, a less harmful medicine than opioids. Can the member please explain why on Earth there has been all of this work, to legalize the use of marijuana, including medicinal, to encourage the marijuana industry to establish, and yet the government is not allowing people, for example, those who are suffering from nausea due to cancer, to choose to have marijuana prescribed as they would for an opioid, and have it covered through a drug program?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 22nd, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very thankful that my hon. colleague and her party will be supporting Bill C-45 as a measure that will help protect our young people and ensure that they have less access to cannabis.

We are taking action on all fronts. We are looking at the opioid crisis, taking concrete action and have been doing so since we took office. I will say that that is actually something that has been supported by all sides of this House, because I think we all realize it is an urgent crisis that needs to be addressed. We are addressing it on multiple levels.

Specifically in relation in the question about cannabis, this is something we promised Canadians we would do, something that we realized needed to be addressed for a very long time. We had a failed system in place. We are no longer going to turn a blind eye to it. We are no longer going to look Canadians straight in the face and say that we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a system that is working, because it is not working.

The statistics I mentioned, and that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada mentioned in her speech, show one in five youth, and one in three aged 20 to 24, are smoking are marijuana. That has been ongoing for a while. We are taking action. It is something we promised Canadians we would do. That is exactly what we are doing.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10 a.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and two sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and

That 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the second day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have before us a bill that would make Canada probably one of the countries in the world with the most relaxed laws around marijuana. Marijuana is a substance that evidence shows affects young people right up to the age of 25. It is a substance that impairs people's ability to drive and their ability to work. It is a substance that our U.S. neighbour to the south has big problems with when it comes to people crossing the border. Marijuana will be legal in Canada yet it has so many problems attached to it. The provinces are concerned about it. Police are concerned about it. Parents are concerned about it.

What is the government doing? It is shutting down debate and ramming this legislation through because it has an arbitrary timeline. We are not sure what the government's motivation is but it is clear that its motivation is not the safety and security, the health and well-being of our children, our communities, people on the road, people driving vehicles or operating machinery. The Liberals do not seem to care about that. They only seem to care about ramming this legislation through. This is worse than appalling. This is the worst example of the Liberals' disrespect of Parliament and disrespect for Canadians, municipalities, and provinces.

I cannot believe we are seeing this happen again on this legislation.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of Bill C-45 is in terms of respecting the health and safety of Canadians. We have had substantive discussions around this particular legislation from pre-election, through two years that we have been in government, through a substantive task force focused on health and safety that engaged with Canadians right across the country. This legislation received 30,000 submissions in terms of what we have committed to doing, which is legalizing cannabis and strictly regulating access to cannabis in order to keep it out of the hands of children and the proceeds of its sale out of the hands of criminals.

The current status quo is simply not working. It is easier for a young person to get cannabis than it is, for example, for that young person to get a cigarette.

We are doing something substantive. We are addressing this matter in terms of health and safety. We are putting in place a comprehensive framework while working in partnership with the provinces, territories, and municipalities. This framework will protect children and will do as much as possible to keep marijuana out of the hands of organized crime.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, it is the position of the New Democratic Party and has for decades been our position that we need dramatic reform to Canada's criminalized approach to cannabis. We are in favour of legalizing cannabis. We are in favour of this legislation but we also want to do it right. We cannot change 100 years of criminal, social, and cultural attitude toward a substance like cannabis without taking great care.

The McLellan report was very clear that the federal government had to work with all levels of government, provincial, municipal, and indigenous in order to have a successful rollout.

This legislation, while better than the status quo, has significant gaps. We heard this at committee. It has serious holes. It does not deal with pardons.

Indigenous representatives testified at committee. Chief Isadore Day told us there has not been any negotiation or discussion with indigenous people whatsoever prior to this and they are going to have to apply the bill on indigenous reserves and bands.

The hon. justice minister just said that the government is concerned about getting marijuana out of the hands of organized crime and protecting children, yet the bill would not legalize edibles. The bill would have kept it illegal, period, but for pushing by New Democrats. It will be legal within one year of the bill becoming law. The government is content to leave edibles and concentrates in the hands of organized crime marketing to children. This is their big gap.

Finally, the bill perpetuates the criminalized prohibitionist approach to cannabis.

In 2015, when the government promised Canadians it would legalize cannabis, why did it not tell them that after the bill became law there would be more cannabis offences in the Criminal Code after legalization than before?

Why will the government not work with provinces and municipalities that are asking for it to slow this process down instead of putting its own political interests ahead of providing good sound legislation in this country that really would protect children?

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Madam Speaker, we are committed to the passage of Bill C-45 in order to legalize cannabis in the country, to strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis in order to, as my friend articulated, keep it out of the hands of children and keep the proceeds out of the hands of criminal organizations. We are committed to doing it right, and we are working and will continue to work with all levels of government. We started that engagement and discussion and received substantive feedback through the efforts of the task force that was constituted by our government. We received 30,000 submissions, including from provinces and territories, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies. We are continuing to engage with them through my parliamentary secretary and the Minister of Health.

This is something we are committed to doing. We are injecting substantive monies into the provinces and territories, and into a substantive public education and communications campaign. We have engaged, and will continue to engage, in a substantive way with indigenous communities to recognize their specific interests and desires with respect to their communities. My colleagues and I are committed to engaging in that conversation on an ongoing basis in the lead-up to the legalization of cannabis and strict regulation.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that the opposition has been remarkably co-operative with a whole number of bills, where we put up one or two speakers and we get our viewpoints on the record. Every now and then, a piece of legislation comes along that anyone who wants to speak to it deserves to have an opportunity to speak to it. I would suggest that such a profound change to our laws around the use of marijuana, which is getting rushed through, deserves that kind of scrutiny and debate. Therefore, I would like to ask the minister to stand up and tell Canadians why she is going to deny the opportunity to many members of Parliament who wish the opportunity to represent their constituents and to speak to this issue. I do not want to talk about the legislation. I want to talk about her denying the ability of parliamentarians to speak on such an important issue.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Madam Speaker, I consider it vitally important to hear from all members of the House in terms of discussions and debate with respect to proposed legislation. We have had substantive debate on various pieces of legislation throughout the course of the last two years. Particularly with respect to Bill C-45, we have had eight committee meetings. We have heard from nearly 100 witnesses at committee. We have received 115 briefs. In this honourable place, we have heard from 86 speakers. We have had 31 hours of debate. This is an incredibly important piece of legislation that we are wanting to move forward in order to legalize cannabis, to strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis in order to keep it out of the hands of kids and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals.

The status quo simply is not working. We have had two years of substantive discussion right across the country. I was very pleased to hear from the 86 members of Parliament in this place who have submitted their concerns, as well as the views from committee that made some amendments to the bill. Discussion will be ongoing in the other place.

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, it is astounding to see how the Liberal Party's political talking points have tainted a person of good faith like this minister, who used to be the chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. Those folks are saying that this is not working and that we are going too fast. All the provinces are saying that.

In Quebec, legislators are being forced to make hasty decisions on extremely important matters that require a legal framework. Police forces are not ready. It is shameful. I do not understand how the minister can stand up here and tell us that the Liberals are not playing politics simply to fulfill that promise and pat themselves on the back.

How can she defend such a disavowal of her own vision for first nations and all the provinces?

Bill C-45—Time Allocation MotionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 21st, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my colleague across the way. I am not disavowing any vision with respect to indigenous peoples. Bill C-45 would, and is committed to, legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis to keep it out of the hands of children and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals. That has been the agenda of this government for two years. We have engaged in substantive discussions right across the country, including within this place. We value the feedback we have received from members of Parliament. We look forward to the discussion that will happen in the other place.

With respect to indigenous communities, we will continue, on an ongoing basis, to engage with indigenous communities. We have and will continue to engage with provinces and territories, as well as law enforcement, to ensure they have the tools necessary to meet legalization in July of 2018. We have invested a significant number of dollars to assist the provinces and territories and to assist in an education and public awareness campaign about the harms of cannabis. We will continue to proceed in this manner to ensure that in legalization, we have and bear the utmost priority of the health and safety of Canadians. That is our commitment to Canadians.