Read our pre-senate vote post recently? Now here’s the lowdown for what actually happened:
The cannabis legalization Senate vote on June 7th resulted in 56 votes for the bill to pass and 30 against with one abstention. The vote is a big step taken to remove the 95-year prohibition of cannabis in Canada.
The passing of the bill also comes with more than 40 amendments to the original, which will now be brought before the House of Commons for approval or rejection.
The primary issues covered by the amendments concern:
- Consumption by minors
- Advertising restrictions
- Potency limits
- Power to ban future cannabis products
- Home growing restrictions
Penalties for giving cannabis to minors
One concern addressed in the amendments is the maximum penalty of 14 years for sharing cannabis with minors. The case brought forth indicated that this was too harsh of a penalty for younger legal users sharing cannabis with friends still under the legal limit. The amendment proposes a fine in its place and also allows parents to share cannabis with their children at home without criminal consequence much like alcohol.
This amendment would see that legal cannabis is subject to the same plain packaging laws and advertising restrictions as tobacco products. According to Health Canada’s suggestions cannabis products will only be sold in uncolored packets with health and safety warning labels required by law. Furthermore, the Senate wants to ban all visible branding and cannabis logos on non-cannabis products as well, such as t-shirts and cups.
Another amendment to Bill C45 cannabis legalization is looking to set a potency cap on cannabis products; limiting the levels of THC or any particular compound in cannabis products for sale. The surface level reasoning for this amendment is to protect children and consumers from cannabis that is too strong for them. However, this brings up major concerns for medical patients who may require much greater levels of THC to achieve the relief they require. It is also very difficult to regulate the biological differences in tolerance between different people. Who would be the “correct” type of cannabis consumer used to set these limits?
Future voting power on new cannabis products
The Senate is attempting to push for voting power over the introduction of new legal cannabis products into the Canadian economy. If this amendment passes, the Senate can ban future products and inventions in the cannabis space.
Many Canadians are concerned about the future effects of such a ruling due to cannabis illiteracy among the Senate. innovation in the industry would be hampered by bureaucracy and lack of knowledge by government officials.
Home growing can be banned provincially
Previous proposals by the federal government stated that after cannabis legalization, Canadians may grow up to four cannabis plats in their homes. However, Quebec and Manitoba have pushed for the complete ban on any home growing. The primary reasoning for this ban is to protect children from negative influences at home and potential for selling home grown cannabis.
The amendment is looking to allow each province to decide it’s own rules on home growing and remove any federal protections for Canadians growing at home. Ontario condo groups and landowners have also been pushing for a ban on home growing.
Now all that is left is to have the House of Commons accept or reject these cannabis legalization amendments over the next few weeks followed by a realistic timeline of 8 – 12 weeks of provincial setup and training before legal cannabis sales in the recreational market can begin in earnest. A vote on the ban or acceptance of edible cannabis products may take up to 12 months after the passing of Bill-C45 into law. Understand how your cannabis business can be compliant with the best POS system after cannabis legalization by booking a demo here.