Bill C-45 (An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts), also known as Canada’s proposed Cannabis Act, recently passed third reading in Canada’s House of Commons and has been forwarded to Canada’s Senate for approval. Although Bill C-45 in its current form answers many of the questions regarding the future regulation of Canada’s existing medical and new recreational cannabis industries, the proposed rules remains uncertain given that many Senators have indicated that they intend to carefully review the draft legislation and perhaps propose changes rather than adding a rubber stamp to the version of the bill tabled by the House. Some Senators have even hinted that they are not necessarily committed to the July 1, 2018, legalization date proposed by the House of Commons.
Adding to all of this uncertainty is the fact that many of the important legislative issues surrounding the regulation of cannabis do not even fall under the proposed Act itself but rather, will be addressed by regulations to the Act. So far, only a limited amount of information regarding these proposed regulations is available.
In late November, the Canadian Government released a Consultation Paper detailing the Government’s position on many of these issues such as:
- The proposed new licensing regime for cannabis producers and sellers
- Requirements for packaging and labeling of cannabis products, and;
- Regulation relating to the different classes of products that will be permitted to be sold (dried, seeds, oils, edibles etc.).
Although the Consultation Paper provides some guidance, the final rules on these issues will not be settled until after the consultation period has been completed in early 2018.
Moreover, except for the report authored by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation which was tabled over a year ago, the government’s position on several key issues have yet to be addressed at all. One of the most significant unknowns is the Government’s final position on regulations restricting the marketing and advertising of cannabis products, an issue which will be vitally important to the numerous producers who have been jockeying for position in their efforts to service the new recreational market in the summer of 2018.
All of this uncertainty at the Federal level is making it very difficult for the provinces, who are charged with the implementation of these new Federal rules, to pass their own provincial legislation which is necessary to supplement the Federal framework.
For more information or to speak to a Cannabis Law lawyer, please visit our Cannabis Law practice page and contact one of our lawyers listed. For any other inquiries, please contact our office directly at (416) 449-1400.