The lower house of the Canadian Parliament passed a bill earlier this week which constitutes a major step forward in the advancement of adult-use Canadian cannabis legalization. Bill C-45 – the Cannabis Act – was introduced in April 2017 by Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould under the direction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who made the issue central to his 2015 election.
Now, after much discussion and a lot of conservative grumbling, the House of Commons has finally reached an agreement on details of the measure. The newest version now heads to the Senate.
“A last-ditch Conservative effort to delay the bill — and send it to the Commons health committee for further study — failed by a vote of 83 to 199 with some Bloc Québecois MPs voting with Tory legislators. Conservative opposition will now fall to their national caucus colleagues in the Red Chamber, where some senators have already signaled they are prepared to give the bill a rough ride. Some Tories have said the government’s timeline for legalization, July 1, 2018, is far too ambitious.
“The Liberal government ultimately accepted three significant amendments to the bill made by the Commons committee tasked with studying the landmark legislation — the government has agreed to ditch its plan to cap marijuana plants maintained in a person’s home to 100 centimetres tall. MPs felt such a requirement would be too difficult to enforce. The government also accepted an amendment that would demand regulations be enacted, one year from Bill C-45’s passage, on edible cannabis products, something ignored by Liberal legislators in this bill.
“The bill will have to secure the support of an increasingly independent Senate where a plurality of members now sit as members of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and thus owe no loyalty to the government’s agenda or their Liberal colleagues in the House. However, based on a CBC News analysis of voting patterns, many ISG senators have shown to be faithful backers of Liberal legislation.”
While Conservatives continue to push an extended deadline for implementation of legalization for July 2019, legislators are seemingly on track to stick with an initial roll-out by July 2018. Marijuana legalization in Canada will have a major impact around the globe, so we’ll all be watching it unfold.
A major discussion of Canadian law and what it means for investors, entrepreneurs and activists around the globe will be covered by experts at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, Hawaii, this weekend. Of course, all things Canada will be covered by the ICBC taking place in Vancouver, BC, just before legalization is set to begin! Canada’s next opportunity to host the world’s best B2B cannabis business conference will take place June 24-25, 2018. Mark your calendars and sign up now – Early Bird Tickets are already selling!