On October 17, Canada became the first G-7 country in the world to institute national legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the country.
It is now the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalize the drug federally for non-medical purposes.
The prohibition on cannabis began in Canada in 1923, until it was regulated for medical purposes in 2001, under the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR) system.
On August 11, 2016, Health Canada announced the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which came into force on August 24, 2016. These regulations replaced the former (2001) MMAR and the (2013) Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).
The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, committed to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes during the 2015 federal election. The Liberals won 184 seats, in the election, allowing them to form a majority government.
The Trudeau government introduced the Cannabis Act Bill C-45 and gave First Reading in the House of Commons on April 13, 2017. The Liberal plan was to make amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts.
The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45 was (at that time) government legislation that aimed to legalize access to adult-use recreational marijuana, and control and regulate how marijuana is cultivated, distributed and sold in Canada.
The Second Reading and referral to committee took place on June 8, 2017, which was followed by Committee Stage, where the Bill was studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA). HESA studies issues that relate to Health Canada, including bills and regulations. It also has oversight of four health-related agencies, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Members of Committee can hold hearings or special meetings to gain perspective from experts from both inside and outside government. The Committee can suggest amendments to the bill when it reports back to the Chambers.
The Committee’s Report was presented to Chambers on October 5, 2017, where the Bill was debated by all parliamentarians.
Legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana was passed by the House of Commons in Third Reading on November 27, 2017.
The Bill was introduced to the Senate and given First Reading on November 28, 2017. The Cannabis Act was adopted, by the Senate, in Second Reading on March 22, 2018, and was then referred to the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI). Including four other Committees that also studied aspects of the bill.
The Senate Committee Report, with amendments to the Bill, was adopted on division on May 30, 2018.
The Senate of Canada website states:
On May 31, 2018, debate began at third reading. Pursuant to a motion adopted in the Chamber.
The vote at third reading took place on June 7, 2018. Bill C-45, as amended, was adopted by a vote of 56 to 30, with one abstention. The House of Commons accepted some of the Senate’s amendments.
On June 19, 2018, senators voted 52 to 29, with two abstentions, to adopt a motion to inform the House of Commons that the Senate would not insist on amendment with which the House had disagreed.
Trudeau broke the news that October 17, 2018 would be the official date of legalization during question period in the House of Commons on June 20th.
Bill C-45 was passed in both Houses in “identical form” and received Royal Assent on June 21, 2018 during a ceremony in the Senate Chambers, when the Bill officially became the law of Canada.
Although, at that time, this legislation was the law of Canada, it did not go into full force and effect until the day of legalization.
On October 17, the Cannabis Act and its regulations came into full force and effect, marking the end of a 95 year long prohibition.
Adults can now possess, consume and purchase marijuana legally in Canada, within federal, provincial and territorial parameters.
By Marijuana.Ca Staff