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NEWS RELEASE: Bill to Legalize Cannabis in Canada Moves Forward in Senate

 For immediate release



OTTAWA, May 28, 2018 - A key committee studying Canada’s cannabis legalization bill is recommending that the provinces have total authority to prohibit home cultivation, that young adults be spared from harsh criminal sanctions for social sharing, and that permanent residents and refugees be protected from unintended consequences of the Bill as part of a series of amendments that will be considered by the Senate this week.

The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology proposed several key changes to the bill on Monday, and is expected to report back to the Senate as a whole on Tuesday. Senate leaders have agreed to a legislative timetable that will lead to a third reading vote on the legislation on or before June 7.

Among the accepted amendments, the committee voted in favour of Government-supported amendments introduced by Senator Tony Dean, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate. Those changes include providing for an absolute discharge for those who plead guilty to a ticketable offence (instead of a conviction) and to authorize the Minister of Health to specify individuals or positions that would be required to hold a security clearance, beyond those explicitly identified in regulations.

Several observations were also adopted by the committee, including a recommendation that prices set for cannabis products and the applicable taxes reflect the dual objective of minimizing the health dangers of cannabis consumption and undercutting the illicit market of cannabis.

These amendments come at the end of an exhaustive set of hearings that included study of the bill by five committees, which heard collectively from 215 witnesses over the course of 40 meetings.

The committee also rejected a number of other suggested changes during clause-by-clause study Monday, which included a Conservative proposal to delay the coming-into-force of Bill C-45.

The committee took into consideration reports from four other committees tasked with focusing on particular elements of the bill.

The Senate as a whole will consider the committee report, ahead of third reading.

“Canadians can be assured that the Senate has done a careful review of this legislation – and has proposed several successful amendments and observations at committee that has strengthened the bill,” said Senator Dean.

The Cannabis Act arrived in the Senate in November.

The comprehensive legislation proposes to set out controls for the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis. The legislation aims to restrict youth access to cannabis; protect the health and safety of the public through strict product safety and quality requirements; and deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework.

Provinces and territories are also readying for legalization in Canada. Find out more about the progress they’ve made in their own preparation here.

For more information, please contact:
Amanda McLaren
Parliamentary Affairs Advisor to the Honourable Tony Dean

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