Federal Government Unveils Cannabis Legalization Plan

Last week the federal government released legislation that will lead to the legalization of recreational cannabis. The legislation is designed to end 94 years of prohibition that the federal government has declared an “abject failure,” while protecting minors, and strengthening the Criminal Code to deal with those selling cannabis illegally or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Specifically, if passed the Cannabis Act, would:

  • Allow adults who are 18 years or older to legally:
    • Possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form
    • Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
    • Purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer
    • Grow up to 4 cannabis plants, up to a maximum height of 100cm, per residence for personal use from licensed seed or seedlings
    • Make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home provided that  organic solvents are not used
  • Create two new criminal offences, with maximum penalties of 14 years in jail, for:
    • Giving or selling cannabis to youth, and
    • Using a youth to commit a cannabis-related offence
  •  Prohibit:
    • Products that are appealing to youth
    • Packaging or labelling cannabis in a way that makes it appealing to youth
    • Selling cannabis through self-service displays or vending machines
    • Promoting cannabis, except in narrow circumstances where the promotion could not be seen by a young person

The federal government would also:

  • Set strict requirements for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis
  • Set industry-wide rules and standards, including:
    • The types of cannabis products that will be allowed for sale
    • Packaging and labelling requirements for products
    • Standardized serving sizes and potency
    • Prohibiting the use of certain ingredients
    • Good production practices
    • Tracking of cannabis from seed to sale to prevent diversion to the illicit market
    • Restrictions on promotional activities

Provinces will retain the power to:

  • Increase the minimum age in their province or territory (but not lower it)
  • Lower the personal possession limit in their jurisdiction
  • Create additional rules for growing cannabis at home, such as lowering the number of plants per residence
  • Restrict where adults can consume cannabis, such as in public or in vehicles

Criminal penalties would be enforced as follows:

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For more:

Government of Canada: Legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis–the facts 

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