Bill 174 – Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statue Law Amendment Act, 2017
Introduced by Hon. Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General, the Bill was carried on Second Reading on November 2, 2017.
- Enacts the Cannabis Act, 2017 (Schedule 1)
- Enacts the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 (Schedule 2)
- Repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 and replaces the acts with Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017
- Amends the Highway Traffic Act re driving with alcohol or drugs present in the body and other matters
Cannabis Act, 2017
- The purpose of the Act is to establish prohibitions respecting cannabis and to protect youth, public health and safety, and to deter illicit activities through appropriate enforcement and sanctions.
- It is important to note that, subject to certain exceptions, the Act and regulations do not apply with respect to cannabis produced for medical purposes under applicable federal law.
- The prohibitions set out that no person is permitted to sell cannabis other than Ontario cannabis retailers established under the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 and that it may not be distributed unless it has been or is intended to be sold by an Ontario cannabis retailer.
- Cannabis also CANNOT be sold to persons under the age of 19 or to persons who are or appear to be intoxicated. Persons under 19 years of age also cannot possess, consume, purchase or attempt to purchase, distribute, cultivate, propagate or harvest cannabis or offer to cultivate, propagate or harvest it.
- There are also restrictions that prevent places where cannabis may be consumed and restricts method of transportation in a vehicle or boat, unless certain conditions are met.
- Landlords are also prohibited from knowingly permitting their premises to be used in relation to the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis
- Police officers have the following powers and authority to:
- request a person who attempts to rely on an exemption to provide specified confirmation of such exemption.
- seize cannabis or any other thing in specified circumstances.
- request that premises be vacated if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Act is being contravened on the premises and to restrict persons who are required to vacate from re-entering the premises on the same day.
- temporarily close premises other than residential premises if a charge is laid under the Act.
- arrest a person without a warrant in relation to apparent contraventions of the Act.
- refer persons who are charged with prohibited activities by persons under 19 years of age to youth education or prevention programs that are approved.
- Arrangements and agreements may be entered into with respect to the sale, distribution, purchase, possession, consumption, cultivation, propagation or harvesting of cannabis on a reserve.
- Complementary amendments are made to a number of Acts, most significantly to:
- Education Act: List of purposes of the code of conduct is amended to refer to discouraging the use of cannabis, except by a medical cannabis user; and amend list of activities leading to possible suspension.
- Liquor License Act: The Act is amended to incorporate referrals to youth education or prevention programs under that Act, as a parallel to the corresponding provisions in the Cannabis Act.
Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017
- The Act provides for the establishment of the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), which has the exclusive right to sell cannabis in Ontario subject to certain exceptions.
- Appointment, composition and duties of the OCRC Board are provided for. An individual who is a member of the LCBO is eligible to be appointed as a member of the OCRC board, and if appointed does not have a conflict of interest simply because they are a member of the LCBO.
- OCRC must enter into a MOU with the LCBO.
- OCRC may make by-laws and the MOU with the LCBO may provide that the certain by-laws of the Corporation must be approved by the LCBO.
- OCRC may enter into agreements with the LCBO.
- OCRC may enter into agreements for the sale of cannabis by agents, if authorized by the Minister.
- OCRC’s financial matters are to be audited annually by Auditor General.
- Certain restrictions on the Corporation’s operations are established in connection with applicable federal law.
- Complementary amendments are made to the Liquor Control Act to allow LCBO to oversee Ontario cannabis retailers established under the OCRCA, and enter into agreements with the retailers.
Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017
- This new Act applies to tobacco products, vapour products and medical cannabis, and to other products and substances that may be prescribed in the regulations. For example, it is prohibited to sell or supply tobacco products, vapour products and prescribed products and substances to persons under 19.
- The smoking of tobacco or medical cannabis, use of electronic cigarettes and consumption of prescribed products and substances is prohibited in a number of places such as:
- Enclosed public places
- Enclosed work places
- Child care centre
- Reserved seating areas of sporting arenas
- This prohibition for consumption in certain places is subject to certain exemptions such as controlled use areas in long-term care homes and designated hotel rooms. Obligations are placed on employers and proprietors with respect to places where the prohibition apply.
- Home health-care workers are protected from the use in their presence of tobacco, medical cannabis, electronic cigarettes and prescribed products and substances
- No one shall be allowed to do any of the following in a motor vehicle:
- Smoke tobacco or have a lighted tobacco, or use an electronic cigarette or have an activated electronic cigarette while another person who is less than 16 years is present in the vehicle
- Smoke medial cannabis, have lighted medical cannabis, use an e-cigarette containing medical cannabis or have an activated electronic cigarette containing medical cannabis
- Consume a prescribed produce or substance in a prescribed manner or have a prescribed product of substance
- Traditional use of tobacco by indigenous people are protected
Highway Traffic Act
- The Act amends provisions as it relates to novice and young drivers regarding driving with alcohol or drugs present in the body. For example, if a novice or young driver is found to contravene the condition of not having drugs in the driver’s body while driving, they will be guilty of a fine between $60 to $500 dollars. A young driver’s license may also be suspended for 30 days, and license of an novice drive may be suspended, cancelled or changed in accordance with the regulation.
- Other provisions of the Act are amended as well. For example, the maximum fine for contravention of the Act or regulation is increased from $500 to $1000.
For more information on the Bill: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=5276