Statutes, Bills, Regulations

Towards Cannabis Legalization in Canada

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By Alan Kilpatrick

Canada’s official cannabis legalization date is set for October 17th, 2018.  Legally, how did we get here?

In 2015, the Federal Government proposed legalizing cannabis.  Without a blueprint or roadmap to follow, the Government strove to explore the available evidence and balance a variety of health-related goals.  Behind their desire to consider legalization, the Government acknowledged that cannabis use is widespread, that criminalization has become a burden on the justice system, that organized crime benefits from criminalization, and that support for change is high among Canadians.

In December 2016, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization issued its recommendation report, A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada.  After extensive consultations with domestic and international experts, Canadians, and interest groups, the Task Force brought forward almost 100 recommendations.  The report suggested a legislative framework for cannabis legalization in Canada.  Almost 30,000 submissions were made during the Task Force’s public consultations.

Five short months later in April 2017, the Government introduced Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act and Bill C-46, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code in the House of Commons.  Bill C-45 legalizes cannabis and advances several public health objectives.  They include protecting youth and controlling access.  More information about the Cannabis Act can be found here.

Bill C-46 amends the Criminal Code by creating new tools to identify drug impaired driving.  Identifying drug impaired driving is one of the larger challenges that has arisen due to legalization.  Several concerns still exist about the roadside screening procedures for cannabis use.

In the rapid leadup to legalization, each province has been required to draft its own cannabis legislation.  Legally, the Federal Government holds authority for cannabis production, licensing, tracking, and medicinal purposes.  Each Province is responsible for drafting a legislative framework to handle cannabis retail, distribution, public use, home cultivation, and minimum age limits.  You can learn more about the division of Federal and Provincial responsibilities here.

In the leadup to Saskatchewan’s own cannabis legislation, the Provincial Government conducted a province-wide survey in October 2017.  Notably, this survey received the highest response rate of any Saskatchewan Government survey ever.  Introduced in March 2018, Bill 121, The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act passed quickly through the Legislature and received royal assent in May 2018.

Saskatchewan’s bill aims to curtail criminal cannabis, protect youth, advance public health, and regulate legal use.  The legal age for cannabis use in the province has been set at 19.  Use in public spaces has been prohibited.  A zero-tolerance policy is in effect for driving.  Finally, the Province has established a private retail model for cannabis retailers that will be regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA).  Last month, the SLGA held a lottery to grant 51 cannabis retail permits to potential retailers.  SLGA has indicated that additional permits may be made available if demand warrants it.  You can read more about Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Framework here.

This post was inspired by a session at CALL/ACBD 2018: Cannabis Panel presented by Myrna Gillis, Matt Herder, Robert Strang, and Bob Purcell. 

 

Sources   

Gillis, M., Herder, M., Purcell, B., & Strang, R. (2018). Cannabis panel. Plenary Session at CALL/ACBD 2018.

Government of Canada (2018). Cannabis legalization and regulation.  Retrieved from http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

Government of Canada. (2016). A Framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.  Retrieved from http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/task-force-marijuana-groupe-etude/framework-cadre/alt/framework-cadre-eng.pdf

Government of Canada. (2018). Introduction of the cannabis act: questions and answers.  Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/introduction-cannabis-act-questions-answers.html#a2

Government of Saskatchewan. (2018). Canada’s cannabis act. Retrieved from https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/cannabis-in-saskatchewan/canadas-cannabis-act

Government of Saskatchewan. (2018). Saskatchewan’s cannabis framework: framework and survey results. Retrieved from http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/13/106026-SK-Cannabis-Framework.pdf

Saskatchewan Legislative Update

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The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 114 No. 25, June 22, 2018:

  • SR 41/2018 The Wildlife Habitat and Ecological Lands Designation Amendment Regulations, 2018 (No. 3)
  • SR 42/2018 The Representative Area Ecological Reserves Amendment Regulations, 2018

Federal Proclamations

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Section s 102 to 113 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2, SC 2014, c 39, are proclaimed into force November 5, 2018 (PC 2018-0717).

Sections 44 to 49 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, SC 2015, c 36, are proclaimed into force November 5, 2018 (PC 2018-0717).

Section s 1(6), 2, 3(2), 7(1), 7(3), 7(5), 8, 10 to 24, 26(8), 29, 54, 58, 59, 60(1), 61, 64 to 68 and 70 to 72 of An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, SC 2017, c 7, are proclaimed into force June 21, 2018 (PC 2018-0851).

Section s 168, 170, 171(2) and 174 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, SC 2015, c 36 are proclaimed into force July 31, 2018 (PC 2018-0852).

Section 121 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2, SC 2016, c 12, is proclaimed into force June 22, 2018 (PC 2018-0878).

Section 50(3) of the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, SC 2014, c 32, is proclaimed into force November 5, 2018 (PC 2018-0880).

Sections 63 and 68 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, SC 2015, c 36, are proclaimed into force November 5, 2018 (PC 2018-0880).

Sections 15, 16, 90 and 91 of the Transportation Modernization Act, SC 2018, c 10, are proclaimed into force June 27, 2018 (PC 2018-0881).

The Cannabis Act, SC 2018, c 16, except sections 160.1, 161, 188 to 193, 193.1 194, 199 to 202, 206 and 225, is proclaimed into force October 17, 2018 (PC 2018-0947).

Saskatchewan Proclamations

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The Film and Video Classification Act, 2016

The Film and Video Classification Act, 2016, SS 2016, c F-13.21, is proclaimed into force July 1, 2018. According to the legislative summary, this new act “continues the previous system of classification of films, but allows administration of the industry to be performed by an official, the Director of Film Classification, instead of a board. It also allows registration of exhibitors and distributors to continue in perpetuity provided that annual reports are provided. As well, the Director is given the discretion to limit classification to a specific exhibitor, time or location.”

The Justices of the Peace Amendment Act, 2016

The Justices of the Peace Amendment Act, 2016, SS 2016, c 21, is proclaimed into force July 1, 2018. According to the legislative summary, “this Act amends The Justices of the Peace Act, 1988 to:

  • create a new position of Assistant Supervising Justice of the Peace;
  • extend the independent remuneration process to the Supervising Justice of the Peace and Assistant Supervising Justice of the Peace positions;
  • provide that a justice of the peace who has been placed on an interim suspension is, subject to the discretion of the Chief Judge, entitled to receive his or her salary during suspension;
  • confirm the process to be used when seeking clarification from the Compensation Commission following delivery of a report; and
  • repeal The Traffic Safety Court of Saskatchewan Act, 1988, move the powers in that Act into The Justices of the Peace Act, 1988 and make those powers applicable to all senior justices of the peace.

The Miscellaneous Vehicle and Driving Statutes (Cannabis Legislation) Amendment Act, 2018

Parts 1 and 2 of The Miscellaneous Vehicle and Driving Statutes (Cannabis Legislation) Amendment Act, 2018, SS 2018, c 21, are proclaimed into force July 1, 2018. The amendment affects The Automobile Accident Insurance Act.

 

Federal Proclamation

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The Safe Food for Canadians Act

The Safe Food for Canadians Act, SC 2012, c 24, except s 73, 94, 109 and 110 which came into force on assent, is proclaimed into force January 15, 2019 (PC 2018-0601). There is a summary of the purpose of the act, including an overview and Questions and Answers, on the Government of Canada website.

 

 

Saskatchewan Legislative Update

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The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 114 No. 22, June 1, 2018:

  • E-0.2 Reg 28 The Education Funding Regulations, 2018
  • E-0.2 Règl 28 Règlement de 2018 sur le financement de l’éducation
  • SR 38/2018 The Securities Commission (Adoption of National Instruments) (NI 31-103, 33-109, 41-101, 44-101, 44-102, 45-106, 51-102, 81-102 and 81-106) Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 39/2018 The Securities Commission (Adoption of National Instruments) (NI 45-102 and NI 31-103) Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 40/2018 The Justices of the Peace Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • RS 40/2018 Règlement modificatif de 2018 sur les juges de paix

The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 114 No. 21, May 25, 2018:

  • SR 37/2018 The Employment Standards Amendment Regulations, 2018

The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 114 No. 20, May 18, 2018:

  • E-0.2 Reg 27 The Registered Independent Schools Regulations
  • E-0.2 Règl 27 Règlement sur les écoles indépendantes inscrites
  • F-13.21 Reg 1 The Film and Video Classification Regulations, 2018
  • SR 34/2018 The Vehicle Impoundment (Public Order) Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 35/3018 The Rental Housing Supplement Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 36/2018 The Disability Housing Supplement Amendment Regulations, 2018

The following regulations were published in The Saskatchewan Gazette, Part II, Vol. 114 No. 19, May 11, 2018:

  • SR 30/2018 The Health Professions Training Bursary Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 31/2018 The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (Exemptions) Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 32/2018 The Saskatchewan Assistance (Exemptions) Amendment Regulations, 2018
  • SR 33/2018 The Transitional Employment Allowance (Exemptions) Amendment Regulations, 2018

Federal Proclamations

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Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

Sections 68, 69, 74, 75, 84 to 91, 97(2), 98 to 101 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, SC 2017, c 20, are proclaimed into force April 26, 2018 (PC 2018-0458).

According to the bill summary, the proclamation affects Division 1 of Part 4, amending the Special Import Measures Act “to provide for binding and appealable rulings as to whether a particular good falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure, authorities to investigate and address the circumvention of trade remedy measures, consideration of whether a particular market situation is rendering selling prices in an exporting country unreliable for the purposes of determining normal values and the termination of a trade remedy investigation in respect of an exporter found to have an insignificant margin of dumping or amount of subsidy.”

Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law)

Sections 4, 6(2), 10 and 11 of the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law), SC 2014, c 24, are proclaimed into force April 20, 2018 (PC 2018-0442).

According to the bill summary, “This enactment amends the Food and Drugs Act regarding therapeutic products in order to improve safety by introducing measures to, among other things,

(a) strengthen safety oversight of therapeutic products throughout their life cycle;
(b) improve reporting by certain health care institutions of serious adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents that involve therapeutic products; and
(c) promote greater confidence in the oversight of therapeutic products by increasing transparency.

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act

Sections 14, 16, 20, 22(1), 23, 24, 27, 28, 31 to 37, 39, 40, 47, 50, 51, 52(1), 53, 54, 56 to 59, 61 to 67, 69, 70, 74, 75, 99, 103 and 105 of the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, SC 2013, c 24, are proclaimed into force September 1, 2018 (PC 2018-0441).

According to the bill summary, “This enactment amends provisions of the National Defence Act governing the military justice system. The amendments, among other things,

(a) provide for security of tenure for military judges until their retirement;
(b) permit the appointment of part-time military judges;
(c) specify the purposes, objectives and principles of the sentencing process;
(d) provide for additional sentencing options, including absolute discharges, intermittent sentences and restitution;
(e) modify the composition of a court martial panel according to the rank of the accused person; and
(f) modify the limitation period applicable to summary trials and allow an accused person to waive the limitation periods.