Saying that it provides “sound foundation for the regulation and safe implementation of legalized cannabis” in the province, the BC government introduced new legislation today regarding recreational pot use in the province.
The legislation “marks a major milestone, and puts our province in position to not only be ready for federal cannabis legalization in late summer, “said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “But [it] does so in a way that reflects the province’s goal… that prioritize public health and safety, particularly for our children and youth.”
The proposed Cannabis Distribution Act (CDA) will establish the province’s exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale distribution and provide authority for public retail sales.
Also proposed is the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA), which establishes provincial control over the sale, supply and possession of non-medical weed, and establishes licensing of private retailers, including registration and training requirements for retail workers.
The act outlines restrictions on the possession, personal cultivation, and consumption of cannabis by adults and prohibitions for minors.
“As I’ve said before, the date set by the federal government for cannabis legalization will just be the beginning,” said Farnworth. “BC will monitor implementation and make any necessary adjustments to provincial regulations to ensure our provincial goals are being met.”
In addition, the government said amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) will address drug-affected driving in British Columbia.
The first phase of proposed amendments to the MVA will provide police with additional tools to remove drug-affected drivers from the road.
The government will now take time to debate and review the proposed pieces of legislation, before they are finalized and passed into law. Provincial implementation timelines are dependent upon the proposed federal legislation receiving royal assent.
In anticipation of federal legalization, the provincial government said it will focus on the development of the regulations and supporting policies.
The proposed federal Cannabis Act was introduced on April 13, 2017, and is expected to come into force in late-Summer 2018. Federal regulation of edible cannabis products is expected to follow within one year.
Under the proposed federal act, provinces and territories will regulate distribution and retail of non-medical cannabis, minimum age, public consumption, personal cultivation, possession limits, and drug-affected driving in their respective jurisdictions.