Article by Lift News
The Standing Committee on Health convened in Ottawa on Monday for the first of five days of intense study of Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act. The Committee has a busy week ahead with 90 witnesses scheduled to testify at over 20 sessions before parliament resumes on September 18th.
With July 1st just 292 days away, provincial, territorial and municipal governments across Canada are looking to Ottawa to provide guidance as they develop their own policies to implement a key Liberal campaign promise to legalize cannabis.
Committee testimony can be dry, even for process nerds. But this testimony is an important part of the legislative review process and provides an important final forum for input before the committee undertakes a clause-by-clause review of the bill, making amendments as they see fit before sending it back to the House of Commons for third reading.
Committee members are MPs, not cannabis experts, and witnesses from a variety of backgrounds appear before the committee to provide important perspectives and expertise, propose amendments and answer questions from committee members.
Monday’s four sessions covered three topics and heard testimony from 23 witnesses.
Here are the high points:
Session 1: panel on federal, provincial and territorial responsibilities (1/2)
The highlight of the first session was Jacqueline Bogden, Health Canada assistant deputy minister, testifying that Health Canada was working on regulations for edibles. This update will be welcome news to LPs and value-added product producers who had been left in the dark as to whether regulations for value-added products would be ready for the implementation of the recreational market.
Note: The term ‘edibles’ is used more broadly by policymakers. They don’t just mean foodstuffs, they mean value-added products: anything that isn’t basic flower or oil.
Session 2: panel on federal, provincial and territorial responsibilities (2/2)
In the second session of the day, chair of the government’s Task Force and former Liberal minister Anne McLellan applied further political pressure in favour of edibles. Asked if edibles should be part of the regulated regime, McLellan responded “Absolutely, they have to be part of the regulated market going forward.” McLellan noted the Task Force report recommended the same, and underscored the necessity for edibles’ inclusion for healthy consumption and as a tool to fight the black market.