By Health Canada

On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the Cannabis Act) in the House of Commons. The proposed Cannabis Act would implement the 2015 Speech from the Throne commitment to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis.

The Government of Canada has indicated that it intends to bring the proposed Cannabis Act into force no later than July 2018, subject to the approval of Parliament and Royal Assent. To support implementation of the proposed Act, regulations would need to be enacted in a range of areas, such as cannabis product standards and packaging and labelling requirements, to ensure that the risks and harms of cannabis are appropriately addressed under the legal framework.

In many cases, Health Canada is proposing to build upon established regulatory requirements that have long been in place for current producers of cannabis for medical purposes or industrial hemp. Enacting many of the same types of strict regulatory controls for production under the proposed Cannabis Act would allow for legal and quality-controlled products to be available by July 2018 and immediately begin to address the public health and safety risks posed by illegally-produced cannabis.

The purpose of this consultation paper is to solicit public input and views on the approach to these regulations. To meet the government's commitment of bringing the proposed Cannabis Act into force no later than July 2018, the final regulations will need to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, as soon as possible following Royal Assent. As such, it is important that interested parties provide feedback on the regulatory proposals in this consultation paper, as draft regulations will not be pre-published. Instead, Health Canada intends to publish a summary of comments received, as well as a detailed outline of any changes to the regulatory proposal, which will continue to provide industry and stakeholders with as much information as possible on the proposed regulatory requirements.