Canada's Condominium Magazine
Judging by mail and emails to Condo.ca, many owners and condo managers are very concerned about the new “Marijuana Laws.” Every week there’s a new question to “Ask the Lawyer” columnist Richard P. Hoffman. [See his previous answer here>>]
There is a lot of mis-information on this topic. Some of the issues are similar to those facing owners/managers when dealing with ordinary “smokers.” Other issues, such as “growing” in a condo — and the risk to community assets, are unique to the Cannibis Act. With this in mind, the editors decided to put together a comprehensive guide on the rules, their application, and how you can protect your community:
- Part 1: Everything You Need to Know about the Cannabis Act and What It Means for You and Your Condo
- Part 2: Bill Status and Updates, the ongoing amendments, debates and implementations
- Part 3: Implications for condo owners and tenants” and how to safeguard your community with rules and education.
Part 1 of a 3 Part Series
Everything You Need to Know about the Cannabis Act and What It Means for You and Your Condo
By Sassa Brown
Canada introduced legislation earlier this year, which would legalize and regulate the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis. To fully prepare for the legalization of marijuana throughout the country, it is important to know all the facts. What is the current status of the bill? What impact will such laws have on the country as a whole? What does it mean for condo owners, landlords, and tenants? Read on to find out more about the bill and how to prepare your condo for these changes.
Current Classification of Marijuana and Proposed Changes
Cannabis is currently a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act and thus prohibited except when used for medicinal purposes. Operations known as dispensaries and “compassion clubs” are unlicensed, illegal distributors of cannabis. They sell cannabis that is untested, unregulated, and potentially dangerous, especially to children. The cannabis sold by these operations is supplied by illegal growers Legislation seeks to regulating the production and distribution of cannabis, granting safe and legal access, while making it less accessible to children. The legislation also has the added benefit of making illegal manufacturing and distribution less profitable, thereby eliminating untested, potentially harmful substances from the streets.
Legal Access and Criminal Offences
The new laws, once approved and implemented, will continue to make it illegal to sell or provide cannabis to anyone under the age of 18, except in instances where use is intended for medicinal purposes. The Cannabis Act will, however, permit adults to:
- Posses up to 30 grams of legal cannabis, dry or otherwise
- Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
- Grow up to 4 cannabis plants, not exceeding 100cm in height, per residence for personal use from licensed seeds
- Make cannabis products, such as edibles, at home, provided that organic solvents are not used
- Purchase cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed distributor
- In provinces without legal frameworks in place, individuals may purchase cannabis online from federally-licensed producers.
The Cannabis Act would also reduce criminal activity by imposing serious penalties and making illegal manufacturing and distribution less profitable, thereby eliminating untested, potentially harmful marijuana from the streets. The Act would also relieve the burden on the criminal justice system by greatly reducing the number of cases that come through concerning the possession and distribution of marijuana.
Additional provisions designed to prevent youths from gaining access include prohibiting the following:
- Products that appeal to youths
- Packaging or labelling cannabis in ways that make it appealing to youth
- Selling cannabis through self-service displays, vending machines, etc.
- Promoting cannabis in any way that could be seen or accessed by youths
Penalties for failing to adhere to these prohibitions include jail time of up to three years and a fine of up to $5 million.
The Canadian Government has also committed $9.6 million to a public awareness campaign designed to inform Canada’s youth of the health and safety risks associated with the consumption of cannabis. The following are additional offences and penalties, as outlined in the Cannabis Act and its amendments:
The federal, provincial, and territorial governments will oversee the new system and share in the responsibility to regulate and control the production and distribution of cannabis. The following is the balance of power and each branch’s role in enforcing the new law upon approval and implementation:
The Federal Government:
- Set strict requirements for producers who grow and manufacture cannabis
- Set industry-wide rules and standards, including:
- The types of cannabis products that will be allowed for sale
- Packaging and labeling requirements for products
- Standardized serving sizes and potency
- Prohibiting the use of certain ingredients
- Tracking cannabis from seed to sale to prevent diversion to the illicit market
- Restrictions of promotional activities
Provincial and Territorial Governments:
- Increase the minimum age in their province or territory, although they cannot lower it
- Reduce the personal possession limit in their jurisdiction
- Create additional rules for growing cannabis at home, including:
- Reducing the number of plants per residence
- Implementing further rules to limit access to youth, such as in instances where children might have access to edibles produced in the home
- Restrict where adults can consume cannabis, such as:
- Parks and other public areas
CONTINUED in Part 2, tomorrow: Bill Status and Updates, the ongoing amendments, debates and implementations