Article by David Brown, Lift News
As legalization legislation makes its way through the House of Commons, Canada’s provinces and territories are also working out how to manage and regulate cannabis distribution, sales, age limits, home grows, and more.
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is expected to finish debate at report stage and third reading in the House this week or next, and then make its way to the Senate. Along with this federal legislation, provinces and territories are working on or already formally debating their own bills to manage the responsibilities given to them under the Cannabis Act, once it is law.
So far, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec have announced their own legislation for managing these issues, while Manitoba has announced specifics about their intentions, but no formal legislation yet (Manitoba has put forward Bill 25, The Cannabis Harm Prevention Act to target drug-impaired driving).
Several other provinces have said they expect legislation later this fall or by next year. No specific timelines have emerged from the Territories, although all have engaged in public consultation and have been actively working on the subject.
Below is a brief rundown of each province and territory’s emerging intentions for managing legal cannabis by the federal government’s goal of July 2018.
On Nov 16, Alberta put forward Bill 26: An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis, which proposes to allow private retail cannabis stores and province-run online sales, with the system overseen by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
Under the Bill, Albertans would be able to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, and anyone under 18 caught with under five grams of cannabis will face penalties similar to those for possession of alcohol or tobacco. There will be no cap on the amount of retail stores, which will not be allowed to sell anything other than cannabis, cannabis products, and accessories—no tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, or snacks.
Ontario was the first to announce their own plans for legalization on November 1st with Bill 174. The bill will have the LCBO manage about 40 retail cannabis locations expected ‘from the outset’, with 80 retail cannabis stores being run by the province in the first year, and 150 in total by 2020, as well as an LCBO-run online system that will be ready by July 1, 2018.