Congratulations Canada and Canadians. The Cannabis Act will soon be in effect, providing guidance on the processing, sale, import, export and distribution of cannabis, among others. It was a long journey for the Cannabis Act to become a low.
- The regulatory framework was based on the existing regulations for the producers of medical cannabis, and industrial hemp, as well as exhaustive consultations done by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. The task force talked with experts, marijuana advocates, patients, and the cannabis industry leaders, as well as representatives from municipalities, provinces, and territories, and the indigenous governments. The task force also talked to representative organizations and other interested parties.
- All inputs were incorporated into the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis, which was open for public comment within a period of 60 days. Over that time, the task force gathered at least 3,200 responses to a questionnaire posted online, as well as close to 500 written submissions.
Target consultations were also done before the Summary of Comments Received During the Public Consultation was published in March 2018.
This means that the Cannabis Act is a carefully thought-out reform that involved all possible interested parties in the process. And here is what you should know.
1. What does the Cannabis Act cover?
The rules set forth in the Cannabis Act applies to the production, sale, importation, exportation, and distribution of marijuana by license holders.
It will have rules regulating:
- Industrial hemp
- Police enforcement of cannabis related violations
- Analyst regulations
2. When will the Cannabis Act take effect?
The new law will come into force by October 17, 2018.
3. What will happen?
On October 17, 2018, cannabis will no longer be under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act. All legal matters in relation to cannabis will be regulated under the cannabis act.
Two other laws that will be repealed and replaced by the Cannabis act are:
- The Industrial Hemp Regulations that are currently enforced
- Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations
The Cannabis Act will also make way for amendments to the following regulations:
- Cannabis exemption in the Food and Drugs Act• Natural Health Products Regulations
4. When would you need to have a license under the new Cannabis Act?
You would need a license for you to be able to:
- Cultivate and process cannabis
- Sell medical marijuana
- Conduct testing and research into cannabis.
You would need a permit if you want to export or import cannabis for medical or scientific purposes. You would also need a permit to export or import industrial hemp. License holders would need to meet strict personnel and physical requirements.
5. How are cannabis products going to be packaged?
Cannabis products would need to be in plain product packaging. There will be stringent requirements for the following brand characteristics: logos, colors, and branding.
Further, all marijuana products should have mandatory health warnings on top of information specific to the product. There would also be a standardized symbol for cannabis that manufacturers would be required to use.
6. What would happen to patients who are currently using medical marijuana for their conditions?
Access to medical cannabis will still be provided for patients who are currently using it. The Cannabis Act will more or less use the same rules that are currently prescribed for access to medical marijuana. Meaning, nothing much will change to the rules set out in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. These rules will be incorporated to the new law with a few changes.
These changes were made to ensure that rules governing both medical and non-medical use of marijuana are uniform, as well as to implement changes to improve access to medical cannabis. There are also rules to help reduce risk of abusing the system.
7. The most important question: Will you be able to legally toke now in Canada?
Not yet. After the Cannabis Act comes in full force, you would still need to wait up to 12 weeks for the territories and the provinces to be able to prepare for the rules to regulate retail sales. Bad news for those who prefer edibles and concentrates because they would need to wait at least a year for that to be authorized.