Senate Passes Cannabis Bill; Amendments Go to Commons

Senate Passes Cannabis Bill; Amendments Go to Commons

UPDATED June 8, 2018 9:32amET

The Senate passed Bill C-45 last night with a 56-30 vote at third reading (with one abstention). 

The amended legislation now returns to the House of Commons, where MPs must agree to the 40-plus changes. 

Senators return today to possible changes to the government’s cannabis bill (C-45), with a third-reading vote expected on Thursday.

Wednesday’s agenda is expected to revolve around Indigenous questions along with consumption and health issues such as minimum legal age, mental health, public health.

The upper chamber has already considered:

  • cannabis production, including home cultivation and the agriculture sector
  • cannabis sales and distribution, including procurement, packaging, health warnings, and advertising
  • international issues such as treaties and the Canada-U.S. border
  • criminal issues such as youth justice and penalties for distribution and illicit cannabis

CPAC In Focus: Selling and Taxing Marijuana

Senators passed a ban on cannabis companies using branded merchandise to market their products.

They also accepted Conservative amendments to:

  • Require corporate transparency from cannabis producers that receive federal licences. This would include the names of directors and officers, who holds controlling interest, and parent corporation or trust, and the names of shareholders. Conservative Senator Claude Carignan promoted the measure as necessary “to prevent the involvement of organized crime in the cannabis industry through the use of tax havens.
  • Make “social sharing” with someone less than two years younger a ticketable offence instead of indictable — and instead of no penalty at all, as the social affairs committee decided in adopting 40 earlier amendments. The measure is aimed at those who share cannabis with those not of legal age, and would be limited to 5 grams.

But the Senate rejected amendments to ban home cultivation; C-45 would allow up to four cannabis plants at a person’s “dwelling-house.” The social affairs committee recommended that provinces and territories have final say on home cultivation.

Senate committees call for changes to cannabis bill

The House of Commons would have to approve the changes once C-45 returns from the Senate.

-Andrew Thomson