The government of Canada introduced legislation that will make Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada legalise cannabis by July 2018.
The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to legalise, regulate and restrict access to cannabis – Bill C-45 Cannabis Act and Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code. This law is expected to come into effect by July 2018. Before that time, Prince Edward Island must decide how to adapt to this legislation.
Programs, policies, laws and public education will be required to determine where and when cannabis can be sold, tax implications, the legal age to purchase and how communities will be protected from potential negative consequences like drug-impaired driving.
PEI Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry announces a bill to deal with legal cannabis will be revealed next spring.
Perry said the province would be guided by the principles of good public health and safety, and they will review public input and engage with municipalities, police, public health and education experts and businesses.
The province’s approach will focus on taking profits away from the black market, keeping cannabis out of the hands of young Canadians, and following a ‘consistent approach’ across the region. Ensuring similar rules like age limits with neighbouring provinces and territories will help ensure less cross-border shopping for products, similar to provincial regulations for alcohol and tobacco.
In Quebec, reports have suggested that the distribution and sale of legal cannabis will be overseen by the Société des alcools du Québec, the provincial liquor board, with an age limit of 18. The province is expected to table legislation Thursday for legalisation.
Nearby, New Brunswick has said they intend to sell cannabis in stand-alone stores and have announced some aspects of their expected legislation, like storing marijuana under lock and key, and an age limit of 19. Nova Scotia has said they plan to introduce legislation by the end of the year.
Perry did not give any more information on the date or contents of the legislation. Ontario has introduced their legislation, Bill 174, and Alberta is expected to launch a bill this week to address legalization. Manitoba recently announced their plans for managing distribution and retail sales.
The federal legislation, along with strict regulations, would:
- allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis;
- allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household;
- set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18 years of age, with the option for provinces to increase the age limit;
- enable a regulatory regime for the licensed production of cannabis, which would be controlled by the federal government;
- allow a regulatory system for the distribution and sale of marijuana, which would be controlled by the provincial government; and
- establish new provisions to address drug-impaired driving, as well as making several changes to the overall legal framework to address alcohol-impaired driving.