The Cannabis Act – Back to Senate it Goes

For months Canadians have been keeping a close eye on Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act. And even though the months leading up to today have been important, the future of Bill C-45 will be determined today, or, at the very least, by the end of the week. At least, we hope it will be. If the Cannabis Act isn’t passed this week, it’s likely not going to be passed before the summer, which will both disappoint and excite provinces.

The Cannabis Act Heads Back to the Senate | June 18, 2018

Time is ticking. All eyes are on the Upper Chamber. After the House of Commons voted 205 to 82 in favor of the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45), they sent the bill back to the Senate today. Why? Because the House said that it would accept some, but not all of the proposed amendments. This is bound to have disappointed the Upper Chamber, as they were essentially told thanks, but no thanks. Now, they have to debate on the federal government’s decision.

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The Rejected Amendments

The House gave the majority of the bill the green light, but 13 of the proposed amendments were tossed aside. To quote the government, they “respectfully disagree” with the 13. One of the 13 amendments that were rejected included the following: allowing provinces to have the ability to ban home cultivation. Provinces such as Manitoba and Quebec want this.

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Now What?

So, the ball is in the Senate’s court. If both Houses are able to agree on the same version of the bill, or if the Senate simply gives into the House, and accepts the Cannabis Act, it will be passed. Many in Canada want the bill to be passed, but not if the amendments that they want are thrown out.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Health Minister, said that the Cannabis Act “in its present form is a good bill.” But will the Senate agree? If they don’t, Bill C-45 could continue to be shipped between the upper and lower houses.

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This evening, at 6 p.m., the Senate will sit. Some are hoping that they will respond by the end of the night, which is possible. However, if they don’t, it’s likely the Cannabis Act will not be passed this summer. This is for two reasons.

First, if they insist on keeping some of the changes that the government rejected, it’s going to be a while before a resolution is made. This leads to the second point: after this week, the House of Commons will not be in session anymore. It won’t be back until September, end of the summer. So, unless the wording is sorted out tonight, or the Senate figures it out by the week’s end, we may not see Bill C-45 passed until the fall.

The Takeaway

How do you feel about the potential delay of cannabis legalization in Canada? Do you think the Senate is going to give in and just accept the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) as is?

Personally, it doesn’t concern me whether the bill is passed in July or October. Though I know it will affect some — so I feel the need to mention to all Canadians reading this: don’t forget that cannabis will no longer be legalized on July 1!

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© forkjemper