Today, the Government of Canada welcomed the final vote on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, in the Senate as an important step in the process of legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis in Canada. The Act is currently awaiting Royal Assent.
Two years ago, the Government of Canada launched the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. Following extensive consultation with Canadians, provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous communities, the Task Force presented recommendations, which have served as the foundation for the Government’s legislative work. In April 2017, the Government introduced Bill C-45 with the goals of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.
The Ministers of Justice, Health, and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness also confirmed that the date of coming into force of the Cannabis Act will be announced shortly.
Once the Act comes into force, adults who are 18 or 19 years of age and older (depending on the province or territory) will be able to legally purchase, grow and use a limited quantity of cannabis. Until that time, cannabis remains illegal in Canada, unless authorized for medical or scientific purposes.
During the transition period between now and the coming into force of the Cannabis Act, the Government of Canadawill continue to work with the provinces and territories, Indigenous communities, the regulated cannabis industry and law enforcement to prepare for implementation of the new legal framework for cannabis. In the coming days, Health Canada will publish final regulations under the Cannabis Act to provide Canadians and stakeholders with the information they need to be prepared for the legalization and regulation of cannabis.
The Government of Canada will broaden its public education activities to help Canadians understand the new legal framework for cannabis, including what will be legal and when, and to remind Canadians that it remains illegal to take cannabis across Canada’s international borders. These efforts will complement existing campaigns on the health effects of cannabis and the dangers of driving and working while impaired.
“I am proud of the work accomplished by our Government, Parliamentarians, and all Canadians who contributed to this important shift in our country’s approach to cannabis. Our goals are to protect our youth from the health and safety risks of using cannabis and keep criminals and organized crime from profiting from its production, distribution and sale.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Yesterday’s vote in the Senate on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, marks the next step in our Government’s commitment to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis. Our public health approach will better protect our youth, displace the illegal market, and provide adults with a legal source of quality-controlled cannabis.
Public education will remain a cornerstone of our efforts to help Canadians get the facts on cannabis and make informed choices.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“The Cannabis Act will help keep cannabis out of the hands of our kids and the profits out of the hands of organized crime. We recognize that we are in a transition period until the new law comes into force. Until then, police will continue to enforce current laws on the possession, production and distribution of cannabis. Driving while impaired by drugs, including cannabis, and taking any cannabis into or out of Canada are already illegal and will remain illegal. Drug-impaired driving is extremely dangerous and can ruin your life in a heartbeat—don’t drive high.”
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“I want to thank the Senate for all the hard work they did in improving this legislation and for their support. The passage of the Bill represents a major step forward in the process of legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis, and the beginning of a larger conversation on what we can accomplish together.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health
- Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is awaiting Royal Assent.
- Until the Cannabis Act comes into force, cannabis remains illegal across Canada unless authorized for medical or scientific purposes.
- Once in effect, the Cannabis Act will allow adults, subject to provincial or territorial restrictions, to:
- purchase fresh cannabis, dried cannabis, cannabis oil, cannabis seeds, or cannabis plants from retailers authorized by the provinces and territories;
- consume cannabis in locations authorized by local jurisdictions;
- possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form in public;
- share up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis with other adults;
- grow up to four cannabis plants per household (not per person) for personal use, from licensed seeds or seedlings from a licensed supplier; and
- make legal cannabis-containing products at home, such as food and drinks, provided that dangerous organic solvents are not used in making them.
- Once the legislation receives Royal Assent, provinces and territories will be able to purchase cannabis from federally licensed producers, so that distributors and retailers can begin preparing retail access online or in physical stores; however, they will not be able to sell cannabis products to adults of legal age until the Cannabis Act comes into force.
- The Cannabis Act creates a specific criminal offence for selling cannabis to a minor and creates significant penalties for those who engage young Canadians in cannabis-related offences.
- Drug-impaired driving remains illegal in Canada. Law enforcement can currently detect drug-impaired driving using Standard Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Expert evaluation. Should Bill-C46 be passed by Parliament and receive Royal Assent, additional drug-impaired driving offences will come into effect.
- Drug screening devices are currently being evaluated to meet Canadian standards and will provide law enforcement with an additional tool to detect drug-impaired driving should Bill C-46 be passed by Parliament and receive Royal Assent.
- It is illegal, and will remain illegal once the Cannabis Act has come into force, for travellers to take cannabis out of Canada or to bring it back from other countries.