Cannabis Legalization Legislation Passes Final Vote

The Senate has voted to pass Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act), one of the final steps towards the legalization of non-medical cannabis. Next steps include Bill C-45 receiving Royal Assent, with the federal government committing to an 8-12 week transition period prior to legalization. The actual date of legalization is to be announced shortly.

After months of debate in the House of Commons and Senate, the Senate, last week, proposed 46 amendments to Bill C-45. However, the legislation sent back to the Senate rejected 13 of the proposed amendments, including a proposal to allow provinces and territories to prohibit personal cultivation. The rejected amendment sought to protect provinces against legal challenges towards their right to prohibit personal cultivation. A Senate motion to re-insert this amendment was defeated.

Other notable rejected Senate amendments include a proposal to create a public registry of cannabis industry investors, and another that would disallow companies from promoting cannabis on merchandise and non-cannabis objects.

In British Columbia, the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) continues to meet to discuss local government concerns, and provide input towards the provincial regulatory framework. UBCM has contracted a study to examine local government costs, projected revenue and case studies related to cannabis excise tax revenue sharing. The study seeks to provide short-term and long-term recommendations consistent with UBCM’s principled approach, which seeks to ensure that cannabis excise tax revenue addresses all local government costs associated with legalization and that remaining funds are shared between the Province and BC local governments.

Canada is set to become the second country to legalize non-medical cannabis.

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