There are a lot of questions surrounding the Liberals new Cannabis legislation Bill C-45.
The proposed new law on Cannabis in Canada, is a start to fulfill an election promise, but many details are undetermined.
We don’t know how the government plans to tax marijuana. The finance minister will provide details on a tax scheme sometime in the future. Right now, Cannabis purchased for medical use is subject to federal tax.
There are no details on packaging and style of presentation for sale. When will edibles will become legal? The Provinces will determine the age for legal purchase, how much may be carried, and how and where it will be for sale.
There’s not much definition on edibles, or foods that contain Cannabis. Apparently, fresh or dried Cannabis will be available right away, as well as oils that can be used for cooking.
Pre-packaged edibles will be for sale sometime in the future.
Who gets to sell, how and where? Will one be able to buy Cannabis and Alcohol at the same location? Other than prohibiting vending machines, the Bill leaves those options to local government.
Legislation prohibits advertising, and enticing packaging and labels. Plain packaging for tobacco is being debated in the Senate, and Health Minister Jane Philpott said this may influence what happens with Cannabis.
New drug enforcement law would give police power to test drivers. The law proposes, that police who suspect a driver has consumed drugs, can compel a saliva and blood sample.
Obviously, more research is needed to help define an acceptable limit for THC in the body. Cannabis does impair driving ability, machinery operation, and other forms of critical decision making.
An unwise promise was made in the last election, and now the social-legal difficulties to form reasonable workable legislation are evident. Many rather recommended de-criminalization, as a more socially responsible course. In any event, it now looks like there will be a patchwork of legal reality and social consequences across Canada.
The international implications are completely unknown. Additionally, the deepening of the drug culture in Canada will surly bring its own consequences.
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
FIRST READING, April 13, 2017
Short title: This Act may be cited as the Cannabis Act.
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.
(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.
The purpose of this Act is to protect public health and public safety and, in particular, to
(a) protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis;
(b) protect young persons and others from inducements to use cannabis;
(c) provide for the licit production of cannabis to reduce illicit activities in relation to cannabis;
(d) deter illicit activities in relation to cannabis through appropriate sanctions and enforcement measures;
(e) reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis;
(f) provide access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis; and
(g) enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis use.