Cannabis Act – C-45
April 21, 2017
The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse says that for youth ages 15-24, marijuana use has dropped from 33% to 24%. Programs that encourage kids to stop using marijuana have been working. Yet on April 13th the Liberal Government introduced C-45, ‘Cannabis Act’. This legislation would allow adults age 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public and to buy cannabis from a provincially regulated retailer. However, this legislation fails to address some very important details.
So far there has been little indication how cannabis will be taxed and how that tax revenue will be shared. Will the GST be applied to pot? Will provincial sales tax also be applied? Will there be some new sort of cannabis tax introduced that shares revenue with the provinces, or will the federal government impose its own tax and tell the provinces to do the same?
The federal government has earmarked $9.6 million over five years for a “comprehensive public education and awareness campaign,” but what will that look like and is that enough money? The Canadian Automobile Association says that level of funding “is clearly inadequate, given the misconceptions about marijuana’s effect on driving.”
Furthermore, it appears the Liberal Government wants to create a pot registry, but they are not telling us how much this is going to cost. Health Canada said the system would be designed to collect information about pot products from licensed producers, distributors and retailers. The department added it would allow businesses and regulators to trace all products.
Between this month’s introduction of the bill to legalize cannabis, and the 15 months it will take to pass it into law, there are a lot of questions that the Prime Minister is going to have to address.