Human Resources Legislative Update

Federal Government Introduces Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Human Resources Legislative Update

Federal Government Introduces Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Date: April 20, 2017

On April 13, 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act.

If passed, Bill C-45 will, among other things:

  • permit persons age 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried or fresh cannabis
  • permit the government to authorize the possession, production, distribution, sale, importation and exportation of cannabis
  • where authorized under provincial legislation, permit persons to possess, sell or distribute cannabis.

Among other things, the following are prohibited by Bill C-45:

  • possession by a person of 30 grams or more of cannabis in a public place
  • possession of cannabis that is known to be illegal
  • possession by an individual of more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering
  • possession by an organization of cannabis
  • the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including to young persons as defined
  • unlawful production, importation and exportation of cannabis.

The penalty will depend on the prohibition, and could result in ticketing or, where specified, in fines, imprisonment or both.

Bill C-45 will, with some exceptions, prohibit certain promotional activities, including promoting cannabis in a way that could be appealing to young persons or which associates cannabis with a way of life which is risky or exciting. Restrictions will also be placed on the packaging, labelling and display of cannabis.

Compliance measures under the Bill include a tracking system and inspection and seizure powers. The Bill also contains broad regulation-making authority.

If passed, consequential amendments will be made to several other statutes.

On the same date, the federal government introduced Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Among other things, Bill C-46 would, if passed, amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence to drive within two hours of having an illegal blood drug concentration, and would give peace officers who suspect that a person has drug or alcohol in their body and has driven within the preceding three hours, the authority to demand a sample of a bodily substance for analysis.

The government has announced a target date of July 2018 for implementation of this legislation.