Federal Marijuana Legalization Task Force Report Due Soon

After a summer of consultations with stakeholders, the federal government’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation is set to release its findings by the end of this month. The Task Force report will guide future action, including new legislation that the Government of Canada is expected to table early in 2017.

The federal government created the Task Force on June 30, 2016 as part of its platform to legalize marijuana. In addition to meeting with stakeholders, the Task Force released a discussion paper, Toward the Legalization, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana, outlining objectives for a new federal regulatory system, and providing a series of issues and policy options for which feedback was collected.

UBCM advised members regarding the engagement process and federal discussion paper. UBCM also conveyed resolutions endorsed by the membership relevant to the terms of reference of the Task Force, and participated in an FCM teleconference with Task Force Chair Anne McLellan on October 6, 2016.

The teleconference provided an opportunity for the Task Force to update local government on some of the issues being considered, including co-location of marijuana and liquor stores, accessibility issues for rural individuals, the provision of law enforcement resources and training, identifying drug-impaired drivers, and future collaboration between all orders of government. UBCM will continue to monitor these issues, especially with regards to potential increases in protective services costs for local governments.

Task Force Chair McLellan noted that the government would be looking to create a price point to discourage illegal market operations. This approach was also emphasized in a recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, noting that initial revenue from legalized marijuana would be much lower than originally predicted, and that it would be split between provinces and territories (60%) and the federal government (40%). UBCM resolution 2016-A3 requested a portion of federal or provincial tax collected through marijuana sales and distribution be shared with local governments.

Ms. McLellan also discussed local government involvement in marijuana regulation through zoning and potentially licensing home growers. UBCM’s members have consistently advocated for local government licensing and regulatory controls pertaining to medical marijuana and marijuana dispensaries. McLellen also indicated that regulatory responsibility would be split between the federal and provincial government, with provinces developing the framework for sales and distribution, while the federal government would regulate production.

The Task Force’s report is due out at the end of November 2016. Its release will likely be followed by legislation in early 2017, and the subsequent development of regulations.

Meta Navigation