Understanding Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, has now passed second reading in the House of Commons and will make its way to the Standing Committee on Health. Although the bill passed second reading 200 to 76, the debate was tough. While most Conservatives who spoke took exception with the bill going too far in providing access to cannabis—especially allowances for up to four cannabis plants for personal cultivation for adults, and a lack of criminal charges for minors found in possession of less than five grams of cannabis—many from the New Democratic Party who otherwise supported the overall bill objected to how far many of the bill’s proposed criminal charges go.
The Standing Committee studies a bill and can propose amendments and, once completed, sends their report back to the House of Commons for further debate.
Once done with this debate, a bill is then called for third reading in the House of Commons where it is again voted on, taking into account any changes made so far. If then passed after third reading, the bill makes its way to the Senate to repeat a similar process. A bill can only become law once it has passed both Chambers of Parliament and then received Royal Assent.
As the debate on the Cannabis Act will continue for some time, it’s important for all Canadians to understand what the Cannabis Act entails. You can read more in the Government of Canada’s backgrounder on the bill here. To better highlight aspects of the Cannabis Act, NICHE has also created some handy infographics to share with friends and family who may still have questions.
This historic bill to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis in Canada still has a long way to go, and we’re excited to be a part of history.