10 Things to Know Now That Recreational Cannabis Will Be Legal in Canada

June 27, 2018

Information from the Ontario Bar Association: Esther Nwator and Christine Laviolette offer a brief overview of the recent developments on this hot topic: the status of the legalization of cannabis, associated regulations, connection to Bill C-46, [i]and some of the key issues emerging from legalization.

1. Recreational use of cannabis will be legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

The liberal government looks set to achieve their stated goal of legalizing cannabis by 2018, although it will be slightly later than initially forecasted. Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act ("the Act"), to legalize and regulate the recreational consumption of cannabis, received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018. On June 19, 2018, senators passed Bill C-45 by a 52-29 vote, with two abstentions. The Act is scheduled to come in to force, making recreational cannabis use officially legal, on October 17, 2018. The delay to the fall is to allow the provinces time to prepare for legalization, including getting in cannabis stock to sell from storefronts.

The societal context for Bill C-45 has been characterized as follows by parliament:[ii]

This enactment enacts the Cannabis Act to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale. 

The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis."

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