April 20, 2017

Cannabis Legalization Laws Outlined

Cannabis Act: What it is, and what you need to know

This week the official position of the Canadian Government on cannabis legalization came forth.  The proposal states that The Cannabis Act would create a “strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis” within Canadian borders. Amongst it’s points lies the general guidelines of how the proposed act, set to become law in July 2018, would affect those adults, 18 years or older who use marijuana, either medicinally or recreationally.

Restricted Access

One of the main points of the proposal, if not the most important one, is the protection of Canadian youth from accessing cannabis.  The act states that providing cannabis to, or using anyone under 18 to commit a “cannabis-related offence” comes with a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.  It goes on to state that in order to prevent youth from using cannabis, products that appeal to youth, be it packaging or labelling cannabis in a way that makes it enticing, selling cannabis through self-service or vending machines, or promoting cannabis would be strictly prohibited, and come with a maximum fine of $5 million or 3 years in jail. 

Controlled Access

This section of the proposal is the part where most cannabis users attention is drawn – how much weed can I have or grow?  It states that there would be a shared responsibility between federal, provincial and territorial governments to overseeing the new system.  Federal responsibilities on the Federal level would be to set strict regulations for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis, and to set industry-wide rules and standards including (but not limited to):

  • type of cannabis products available for sale
  • packing and labelling requirements
  • production practices
  • prohibiting certain ingredients

The Provinces and Territories would follow the Federal guidelines, but also have the power to increase the minimum age, lower the personal limit amounts, create addition at-home-growing rules, and restrict where you can use cannabis.

Criminal Penalties

With every new law comes a new penalty.  The punishments for breaking these proposed rules and regulations outlined in the cannabis legalization proposal dont’ fall far from where they have always been.  Possession over legal limit will give a penalty of tickets for small amounts and/or up to 5 years in jail.  Illegal distribution and sale, alongside production beyond personal cultivation limits or using combustible solvents, garners tickets for small amounts and/or up to 14 years in jail.  Taking cannabis across Canada’s borders will get you up to 14 years in jail.

The Bottom Line

There have a been a lot of mixed reactions to the proposed Cannabis Act – both positive and negative – but the general consensus amongst most users is that this is a step in the right direction leading up to cannabis legalization.  Although July 2018 is still a long ways out and many things can change, including amendments to the proposal, cannabis users can rejoice as this is one step closer to providing a legal standpoint on a long-debated issue.

For more in-depth information outlined in the proposal, go here.

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