Health Committee begins posting written submissions in regard to Cannabis Act

The final day for submissions to the Standing Committee on Health in regard to Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is Friday, August 18

The Standing Committee on Health has recently posted briefs provided to them in regard to their upcoming analysis of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the government’s marijuana legalization legislation.

On August 9th, six briefs were posted on, three from private citizens, one from a hydroponics company, one from Ontario Public Health Association and one from the Western Convenience Store Association.

Briefs are written submissions by the public. The Standing Committee on Health has given the public until Friday, August 18 to provide written submission to the committee for them to consider as they look at the Cannabis Act.

Some submissions expressed skepticism with the development of what they call a government monopoly on cannabis or with inheriting problems from the existing medical cannabis program, while another expressed health concerns in relation to legalization in general. One submission, from JB Hydroponics, calls for the creation of a new recreational system separate from the existing medical program and the purchasing of community farms by the government to help small farmers.

Input from Ontario Public Health Assocation, probably the most thorough, calls for prohibiting cannabis products that are enticing to kids, a minimum age of 21, developing public health campaigns and addressing concerns with impaired driving, training of staff, and the expansion of the regulations to include a “wider variety of marijuana products” including edibles, concentrates, and tinctures, among many other suggestions.

The Western Convenience Stores’ submissions says convenience stores should be allowed to sell cannabis products, allowing for local markets and rules. The organization represents 7,000 retailers and 50,000 Canadians working in convenience stores across Western Canada.

To see how to submit a brief, follow this link.

After the bill passed second reading in the House of Commons, The Standing Committee on Health passed a motion last June to begin discussing Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and hearing from witnesses the week of September 11-15, 2017. This is a week before the House is scheduled to return from summer break.

Time blocks will be two or four hours in length, with either four or nine witnesses over five days, with 96 witnesses in total, plus the ministers of health, justice and public safety.

The categories to be covered in these time blocks will include federal, provincial and territorial, justice and public safety, other jurisdictions and international considerations, household cultivation, age for possession, prevention and treatment, workplace safety, impact on indigenous communities and municipalities, labeling and packaging, edibles, and medical cannabis.

You can find more about this process here.

Witnesses are to be organized to speak to the following topics in two or four-hour blocks:

  1. Federal - Provincial and Territorial responsibilities
  2. Justice and public safety
  3. Other jurisdictions’ experiences
  4. Household cultivation of plants
  5. Age for legal possession and impact on young Canadians
  6. Prevention, treatment, and low risk use
  7. Workplace safety
  8. Indigenous communities
  9. Labelling and packaging
  10. Edible products
  11. Medicinal marijuana
  12. Municipalities
  13. International considerations

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