Cannabis Act

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

Sponsor

Status

Report stage (House), as of Nov. 9, 2017

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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

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 9th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I listened with a lot of interest to my colleague's remarks. He is a chiropractor and said that he is concerned about medical hazards, and I believe him. I believe that he truly is concerned. I am a physician, and would like to explain why I support this bill.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

I do know better.

I support this bill. It is important to look at a 2015 UNICEF report that showed that Canadian youth have the highest rates of cannabis smoking in the developed world, but at the same time also have the lowest rates of cigarette smoking in the developed world.

The hon. member is right: cigarettes are legal. They are sold, regulated, and subject to restrictions and legislation on how they are sold and packaged. The point is that 80% of Canadian youth in that survey said it was easy to get marijuana. Now, if we are concerned about youth, if we are concerned that 80% of them have access to this illegal drug and have the highest rates of smoking this drug in the developed world, it tells us that what we had been doing has not been working. It tells us that we have been unable to stop our young people from getting access to cannabis, young people whose frontal lobes are very susceptible to the effects of cannabis.

As for all the things the hon. members spoke about regarding impaired driving, etc., it also means that they are going to be driving impaired, and that everyone is going to have access to this drug without our having any ability to regulate it, look at it, or look backward at what the surveys are showing us to see what the issues are that are affecting people. It is obvious to me that we have to do this because we have to get rid of organized crime. The people profiting off our youth are organized criminals, because they are selling it to them.

It is very clear in the legislation that we will legalize this drug, then regulate it, and then put all of the legislation penalizing the sale of tobacco to minors, with the same penalties, behind the selling of cannabis to minors. I do not know of any drug that is equivalent to tobacco. Tobacco is the only drug that, when used as directed, will kill us, because we will get heart disease, high blood pressure, emphysema, chronic lung disease, or a stroke as a result. The issue is that we have this currently legal drug, but thanks to all of the policies, programs, and legislation we have put in place for tobacco, our children are now among the lowest users of tobacco in the world.

If we take that template, look at the evidence that suggests that 80% of our youth can get cannabis, and recognize that we currently have the largest number of youth in the developed world smoking cannabis, we have to do something. Therefore, let us look at the experience we have had with tobacco. Let us look at this and continue to regulate it. Let us us make sure that it cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18, and let us make sure we are monitoring impaired driving and use.

For instance, we know there are tools that exist right now to monitor impaired driving. At Christmas time we see the police out on the roads looking for people who are drinking and driving. Look at how much MADD has done with respect to the issue of drinking and driving. What we are trying to do now is to try to achieve the same results so that we can eventually have our young people among the lowest users of cannabis in the same world, in the same way they are among the lowest users of tobacco.

Not to do this would be absolutely irresponsible of this government, given that evidence, and so I do support this bill. I agree with the member that we have to keep monitoring. Cannabis is not used or consumed just via smoking. We need to look at the impact of smoking or using cannabis in other forms. There is oil, leaves, and brownies, and all kinds of other ways of using cannabis. We need to consider we look at the quantity and quality of the cannabis, because we want to make sure that people are not getting what they are now. I understand that the best bud in the world comes from British Columbia. We need to be able to look at that kind of qualitative analysis when considering the amount of cannabis in a cigarette, or whatever a person is using.

These are important things for us to regulate and monitor if we really care about the medical effects and if we really care about the use of it, and yet, I point out that cannabis has positive benefits, which I cannot say for tobacco. Cannabis has positive benefits, and we know it is used for neurological pain and in terminal illness to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy. We know it is useful in many instances. There is proof that there are some medical uses. How we monitor that will come through regulations. How we look at what the impacts are will come through regulations.

It also means that, when we have a piece of legislation, we do our homework and we do our surveys and we check out how many people are using, how many children are using, what the reasons are that they still use, how we can tighten that legislation. All of those things are things we will treat the way we did with tobacco.

At the moment, I see this as a good bill. Prohibition did not work. I see this as protecting our youth. I see this as preventing the supplier right now, which is organized crime, from being able to supply on the black market, in schools, and everywhere. I see the idea of putting a ban on promotion to youth so that we are not going to have the nice gaudy little things that appeal to youth, but packaging that is not going to appeal to youth. That is part of the legislation when we talk about looking at packaging. The devil is in the details.

It is important to look at the fact that we are talking about non-promotional packaging to youth. It is important to work with the provinces, because it is provincial police and city police who are going to be looking at impaired driving. We have tools now to look at cannabis-impaired driving, and we are going to have the training ready that is necessary for law enforcement officers.

What I like about this, which we never had with alcohol and tobacco that are still legal, is that we never put the kind of money into that proactive public education, public awareness, public understanding that there are side effects to this drug, as there are to alcohol and tobacco. The appropriate usage, the amount of dosage, this is where we will be able to start building the research capacity, the indicators, etc., that will tell us what is the appropriate way to use this drug.

Keeping it out of the hands of our children is the priority for me. It is the biggest responsibility this government has, and looking at all of the evidence—and our friend talked about evidence-based decision-making; this is evidence-based decision-making—at least we will be keeping our children safe; at least we will be monitoring usage; at least we will be checking up on who is selling and why. The penalties for people selling to minors is particularly high. It is a maximum of two years in jail, or is it $5 million, or $3 million? We are looking at the same kinds of penalties we have for tobacco, yet I do not hear any members across the way talking about tobacco. I do not hear them talking about the ills of tobacco. Maybe we should not legalize tobacco. Maybe we should make tobacco illegal, if they care that much for the health of Canadians.

Maybe we should look at how we deal with alcohol, because at Christmas when police are standing on the streets with a Breathalyzer, they are checking for what drug? They are checking for alcohol. We know that these drugs have negative effects. We know that one or two of them have some positive effects. I understand that there was work being done to say that red wine taken in moderate amounts is good for our heart and our blood pressure.

I am saying we have a responsibility to bring forward this legislation, and anyone who stands in the House and says they care about our youth and about the health of Canadians would support this, because it is a way to begin to control something that right now is not controlled at all.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, a medical doctor by profession, for her speech today. She mentioned the provinces and she mentioned prohibition. She did not mention the fact that all responsibility for the sale, distribution, monitoring, and enforcement of the laws has been downloaded by the federal government to the provinces.

My riding of Thornhill is in the province of Ontario where the premier has told us that cannabis will be distributed by what is known as the LCBO, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It was set up after prohibition to control the distribution of alcohol, but it should be rightly characterized today as the liquor promotion board of Ontario because once a month a shiny, glossy magazine is delivered to virtually every Ontarian promoting the variety of exciting ways people can consume alcohol.

How can the member ensure and guarantee Ontarians that the LCBO will not promote cannabis in exactly the same way, which would be counter to all of the concern we hear from the government side about the status quo not working, Canada being the largest youth consumer of marijuana and marijuana products? How can it guarantee governments like Ontario are not going to actually accelerate and increase the number of young people using cannabis?

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague is a very thoughtful man and I appreciate his question.

He mentioned the downloading, as he calls it, of the sale, distribution, and use of cannabis to the provinces. At the moment, the provinces are responsible for the sale, use, and distribution of alcohol. At the moment, the provinces are responsible for the sale, use, and distribution of tobacco. We are actually following what is an appropriate place for this to be monitored, at the ground level, not somewhere up on high in the federal government. The overarching legislation is still there.

The idea of promoting it is an interesting one, because the legislation talks about fines for promotion. Obviously, this was not so for alcohol. We have legislation here that looks at promotion, so the provinces are going to be guided by that idea of promoting this drug and of promoting it the way we see alcohol being promoted.

We have learned some things from tobacco and alcohol that we are implementing here with regard to promotion. It took us a long time to stop the promotion. Members may recall all the nice fireworks that we had that were run by tobacco companies. It took us a lot of time to stop that promotion. I was one of the people who fought in the House for us to stop that promotion. We learned a lesson. We are not going to allow that kind of promotion to occur.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, I was astonished to hear my colleague opposite talk about the health benefits of marijuana. Here is the position of the Canadian Medical Association:

The CMA has longstanding concerns about the health risks associated with consuming marijuana, particularly in smoked form.

Children and youth are particularly at risk for marijuana-related harms, given their brain is undergoing rapid, extensive development.

I would like to focus, however, on the government's claim that somehow legalizing marijuana will put paid to the illegal trade. A perfect policy experiment just happened in the last decade or so, and that is the case of cigarettes. Cigarettes are legal. They are so-called controlled. They are kept out of the hands of children, and so on. However, the illegal trade has not only flourished, but it has expanded, and that is because, as the taxes on “legal” tobacco are increased, it is very easy for organized crime to undercut the so-called government cigarettes. The exact same thing will happen with marijuana. The government wants to increase the tax. It will make the price so high that organized crime will easily—

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, the member answered his own question. No one is talking here about raising taxes on anything. We are talking about regulating a drug that has very negative side effects. We are talking about keeping it out of the hands of our children. We are talking about regulating the ability to promote. We are talking about selling to youth. This is what we are doing here. We are not talking about taxes. The hon. member needs to read the legislation better.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak again to Bill C-45 now that it is at the report stage, having previously commented on certain aspects of the bill at the second reading stage. I will not go over that again, but I would like to address certain elements that were changed in committee, especially the 100-centimetre limit on plant height, which seemed a bit arbitrary to me. I could not understand where that number had come from.

In committee, experts told us this limit might actually backfire, because shorter plants tend to have higher concentrations of THC, producing stronger psychoactive effects. The 100-centimetre limit was therefore removed, which was a good thing.

In committee, it also became clear that the Liberal government is not interested in getting the best bill possible. It was so partisan that when the NDP proposed an amendment to eliminate the 100-centimetre limit, the Liberals insisted on voting it down and proposing their own version a few minutes later saying the exact same thing, just because they did not want us to beat them to the punch. That may not be the best way to treat such a serious issue. I am disappointed.

Initially, we did not plan for edible products to be allowed, but this has changed. We will allow them but only in one year. I would like to speak to this particular issue, which I believe is quite important.

Dried cannabis has to be smoked, which is toxic for the lungs. Any inhaled smoke has a certain degree of pulmonary toxicity, whether it comes from a cattail or a cigarette. However, according to the studies I have read, cannabis smoke is apparently 10 times more toxic for the lungs than tobacco smoke. Let me be clear: I am not telling people to smoke cigarettes. All I am saying is that cannabis is highly toxic for the lungs when it is inhaled.

Thus, by allowing that substance to be included in food, we would at least eliminate the issue of pulmonary toxicity. In spite of that, it was decided to allow people to smoke cannabis before allowing them to eat it, which is illogical. Many people in my riding did not understand why people were being encouraged not to smoke tobacco just about everywhere, while at the same time, smoking another substance would become legal. I can see why people might be confused.

Furthermore, when cannabis is ingested in its edible form, be it as a syrup or lozenge, it is much easier to determine accurately the concentration of its two active ingredients. I would like to say a few words about these two ingredients, because they are important. These studies have yielded some interesting results.

First, cannabis contains two cannabinoids: THC and CBD, also called tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. These two substances seem to have a different effect on our body's endocannabinoid system. THC is the psychoactive ingredient, and it is believed to act on the immune system in such a way as to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, enhance the mood, trigger euphoria, increase appetite, relax the muscles, reduce certain types of seizures and relieve nausea.

We must not forget that it is also the substance that produces euphoria.

Cannabidiol does not produce a euphoric effect. It is used much more for pain relief, reducing nausea and anxiety, controlling epilepsy, immunosuppression, and muscle relaxation. It is also an anti-psychotic, it reduces inflammation and insomnia, and it is calming.

The reason I wanted to take the time to explain this is that many studies have shown the pot available on the streets has increasingly high concentrations of THC and lower and lower concentrations of cannabidiol. That is why we are seeing more and more episodes of toxic psychosis: cannabidiol tends to neutralize the more psychotic effects that may occur.

The product on the streets has higher levels of THC, which means that it is becoming riskier.

The reason I wanted to explain this is because it would make it possible to have edible products in which all chemical substances could be carefully controlled. It would also make it possible to prevent some of the side effects that are common with the increasingly stronger strains of street drugs. One way to better control side effects and psychosis is to increase cannabidiol and reduce THC.

When it comes to dried herb products, it is really hard to control the concentration of substance in each product. What that means is that we are about to legalize a product that is much more difficult to control, but we are waiting to legislate on edible products, even though they would be much easier to control and it would be easier to limit THC and cannabidiol concentrations.

I find that a little strange. It would have made a lot more sense to legalize edibles right away, while imposing limits on the various substances, such as THC and CBD, to determine how much of each substance could go in the products.

The other reason it might be particularly useful to allow edible products and to be able to control each chemical is for the purposes of research and improving our understanding of this substance. Even though medical pot has been in use for a decade or so, the fact remains that knowledge of its effects on the human body is often based on anecdotal evidence. Essentially, this means someone started taking it on their own and found that it helped with a condition they had. Our knowledge is not based on conventional clinical research, but on personal experiences compiled over time. Since some discoveries were based on anecdotal medical evidence, the results are not 100% reliable.

It is important to bear in mind that even though we are talking about recreational use, many people still take cannabis for medical purposes. Even though they do not have a prescription, they decide to try cannabis and find that it helps with their insomnia or other health problems.

Singling out recreational use and completely ignoring those who use cannabis for self-medication is not right. We need more information so we can better educate people on the actual effects of cannabis.

One of the problems is that we currently do not have that information, and many people who might decide to take cannabis could be endangering their health, because they do not fully understand the substance or the circumstances in which it might be useful or dangerous.

This bill should have placed more emphasis on health and the prevention of side effects. I also sincerely believe that not allowing edible products, only dried herb products, is somewhat illogical.

Bill C-45—Notice of time allocation motionCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Madam Speaker, I would like to advise that agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the report stage and third reading stage of Bill C-45, an act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings of the said stages.

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, first, how outrageous is this. The Liberals want to bring in legislation that we have studied at committee and experts have said that the bill will not do what the Liberals have told Canadians it will do, that it will not get not get the job done.

I have a question for my NDP colleague. Many of the things she brought forward are reasonable and sensible. They identify the problems with the bill. It will not get the job done, as the Liberals have promised Canadians, to keep it out of the hands of kids and away from organized crime.

My question for the member is one that many people have ignored. It is about the three international trade agreements to which Canada has been a signatory. They basically state that stated we would not legalize marijuana. If the Liberals wanted to get out of these trade agreements, they had to state that in July. What effect will the bill have on our international reputation, on our international ability to trade, especially with our most important trading partner, the United States, especially when we are undergoing NAFTA negotiations? Will it be detrimental or will it help open up the border?

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I may not have the expertise to know what impact this will have on the free trade agreements, but it is clear that the Liberals need to immediately get to work with regard to the three trade agreements that my colleague mentioned.

I also think that we need to take into account the fact that two U.S. states decided to legalize marijuana. I do not know what sort of impact that will have on the free trade negotiations, whether it will be positive or negative, but I do know that the Liberals need to act now to resolve the issue of the three agreements we have signed that prohibit the trade of cannabis.

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, could the member comment on the government's plan to properly prepare for the implementation of the legislation. This afternoon we have heard a lot about this. In particular, there are $274 million to support law enforcement; another $161 million for training front-line officers; $81 million over the next five years for continued training of officers; and $46 million over five years for public education, awareness, and surveillance.

What does the member think of that money? Does she concur that it is necessary to put the funds into the preparation, as the government has done?

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, the problem with the current government is that it seems to believe that money is the solution to all problems.

It is not the amount that is important, but what is done with it. The government needs a strategy. The Liberals can throw as many numbers around as they like, but what counts is how that money is used. Does the government have a specific plan? Does it know where it is going? The government seems to think that money is the solution to all problems. The Minister of Finance throws money around saying that he will repay what he never should have earned because he was in a conflict of interest and he thinks that will magically make everything better. That is not a responsible attitude. It is not the amount of money that counts. It is what is done with it.

The government could allocate smaller amounts if it knew exactly where it was going and what it was going to do. In my opinion, it is not the amount that matters. What matters is knowing exactly what is going to be done with the money and having a strategy. The government cannot just say that it is going to make investments and then leave it up to others to take the necessary action.

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise this afternoon to speak to Bill C-45, the government's marijuana legalization legislation.

It is a little more than 200 days until July 1, 2018, and a little more than 200 days before the Liberal government plans to legalize marijuana in Canada. With a little more than 200 days to go, the provinces are saying that they are not ready. The municipalities are saying that they cannot be ready. Law enforcement agencies are saying that they are not ready and they cannot be ready for July 1. In turn, the government is saying it really does not care that they are not ready, because it is moving ahead with July 1, 2018, ready or not. Talk about irresponsibility on the part of the government. Then again, we are dealing with a reckless government that is prepared to put the health and safety of Canadians at risk, all so their pot-smoking Prime Minister can actually keep an election promise.

The issues the municipalities and the provinces face in order to deal with the effects of legalization are manifold. The provinces will have to deal with issues around workplace safety, employment standards, and traffic safety. The municipalities will have to deal with issues around licensing, zoning, enforcement, and inspection.

With so much work to do and so little time to do it, no wonder the provinces and the municipalities are saying to the government, “Slow down. Give us time to do what we need to do”. In that regard, some provinces have not yet even unveiled a plan, not even announced a plan to deal with issues around implementation and regulation of marijuana.

Lisa Holmes, who was the mayor very recently of Morinville, about 10 kilometres north of my home town of St. Albert, appeared before the health committee in her capacity as the president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. She indicated that 96% of urban municipalities in Alberta did not have bylaws or policies in place to deal with the regulation of marijuana in their communities because there was a lack of clarity about the breadth and substance of regulations, both at a provincial and federal level. I think 96% of urban municipalities in Alberta is not unique to Alberta. I think we would find a similar pattern right across Canada.

With respect to law enforcement agencies, it is clear they are not ready. They are saying that they are not ready, and they cannot be ready. The government has basically put them in an impossible position with the rush and the arbitrary July 1, 2018, deadline.

Let us look at the facts in this regard. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police indicated that in order to deal with impaired drivers and more Canadians who would be consuming marijuana, and in order to train their officers, there was a need for about 6,000 officers to receive training. That training takes about 100 days. The association is saying that it cannot take 6,000 officers off the streets for 100 days by July 1, 2018, that it is just impossible.

Then there is the issue of drug recognition experts. Right now, there are approximately 600 drug recognition experts in Canada. It has been said that there is a need for as many as 2,000 drug recognition experts to deal with the effects of marijuana legalization. When an official from Public Safety Canada came before the justice committee during its study of Bill C-46, I asked that official where things were with respect to drug recognition experts and where we would be by July 1, 2018. The response I got was that by July 1, 2018, there might be an additional 100 drug recognition experts. In other words, we would go from 600 to 700 drug recognition experts, when there is a need for as many as 2,000 drug recognition experts.

I know that a little earlier the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice alluded to the fact that this House had passed Bill C-46 in conjunction with this legislation, Bill C-45. One aspect of Bill C-46 is per se limits for THC levels for drug-impaired drivers. The only problem with that is that there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between drug impairment and THC levels. What that is going to mean is that people will get behind the wheel impaired and get away with it. They will get off because of the government's arbitrary and unscientific per se limits.

Municipalities, provinces, and law enforcement are not ready, and frankly, Canadians are not ready either for the July 1, 2018, date.

In the justice committee's study of Bill C-46, and when I read the transcripts from the health committee, there were a number of witnesses who cited various surveys and studies that indicated that a large percentage of Canadians, particularly young Canadians, have misconceptions about the effects of marijuana usage. This was recognized by the government's own marijuana legalization task force as an issue. The task force, in its report, recommended to the government that it have an early and sustained public awareness campaign. What we have seen from the government is not an early and sustained public awareness campaign. We see a campaign that is barely off the ground, with little more than 200 days before the July 1, 2018, date.

Do members know who else is not ready for July 1, 2018? The government is not ready. Its marijuana legalization bill, Bill C-45, is an absolute shambles of a piece of legislation. It is going to create more problems than it solves.

Let us look at the whole picture. Bill C-45 is going to make our kids, our roads, and our communities less safe. We have a government that has absolutely no plan in terms of a coordinated effort with the provinces and municipalities, Law enforcement does not have the tools and resources to be ready for July 1, 2018, and there has not been a sufficient public awareness campaign to get Canadians ready. Taken together, the government needs to put the brakes on July 1, 2018, and go back to the drawing board.

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I have often heard comments from the other side about the people over here just not being ready, but I want to tell the member opposite what I am not ready for. I am not ready to leave the health and safety of Canadian kids in the hands of criminals. I am not ready to see organized crime make billions of dollars of additional profit by delaying action that will check that profit. I am not ready to leave in the hands of criminals, those who really do not care about our kids, the health and safety of those who would consume what they are selling. I am not ready to continue to deal with the violence that is visited on so many communities in this country by people involved in illegal drug trafficking.

I ask the member if he is ready to tolerate those circumstances, because in my experience, there seem to be two things the group opposite hates. It hates the way things are and it hates changing the way things are.

Report StageCannabis ActGovernment Orders

November 9th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, if the government was truly interested in keeping marijuana out of the hands of our kids, it would back off from its policy on homegrown marijuana. How is that going to keep marijuana out of the hands of our kids? I do not know if it occurred to the government, but just about everyone under the age of 18 happens to live in a home, and it is proposing to allow up to four marijuana plants per home. There was evidence before the health committee that a one-metre tall marijuana plant can produce up to 600 grams of marijuana.

There we have it. The government would keep marijuana out of the hands of kids by putting it in their homes, not to mention all the issues around diversion and crime in the state of Colorado associated with homegrown. According to the parliamentary secretary, the government wants to keep it out of the hands of our kids. What a load. What hypocrisy. What nonsense.