April 20, 2017

The federal government tabled legislation to legalize marijuana on April 13.  As expected, the Bills leave the bulk of decisions on age of majority, distribution, and retailing of marijuana to the provinces.  

The Legislation:
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, would amend Canada’s Criminal Code, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and other current legislation to allow Canadian residents to sell, buy, possess, and grow marijuana before July of 2018.  The legislation proposes:
  • limits of 30 grams of dried marijuana for individual possession for adults over the age of 18 years unless a higher age is set by a province;
  • authorizes the creation of a licensing system for marijuana growers and a tracking system for plants;
  • establishes penalties for possession of greater amounts of marijuana, trafficking outside of the proposed system, and distribution to minors;
  • provinces will have the ability to set their own distribution and other rules, or default to the federal requirements.
Bill C-46 amends the Criminal Code and other legislation to introduce new penalties for drugged driving, streamline drunk driving provisions.  This Bill also allows police officers who suspect a person of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to demand a bodily fluid sample.

Next Steps:
AMO is calling for municipal licensing of growers and retailers of marijuana to control where these businesses are located, to limit concentration and proximity to schools, daycares, and residential neighbourhoods.

AMO also wants resources so that municipal governments are not left holding the costs for increased policing, public health, and emergency services due to marijuana legalization.  AMO is already engaged with the Province as it develops its approach to cannabis access and regulation. This work, through the AMO Marijuana Legalization Task Force, will continue, as will our advocacy.