Cannabis Act, impaired driving changes among several bills to officially pass Parliament
OTTAWA – The federal government's legislation to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana has received Royal Assent, meaning the bill has officially passed Parliament.
Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, was one of just under a dozen pieces of legislation that received the formal ascension Thursday morning.
Despite the bill passing, it is not yet law. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that Oct. 17 will be the date that marijuana will be legal across Canada.
In the meantime, the provinces, territories, and municipalities have time to finalize the set-up of their retail stores and to come in-line with the new regulations.
Bill C-45's companion piece of legislation, Bill C-46, which deals with impaired driving also received Royal Assent. This legislation changes the impaired driving laws to give police new powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests, and makes it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit. For example, the bill states that having between two and five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood would be a summary criminal conviction, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
According to the Justice Department, the drug-impaired driving aspects of the bill have now become law, with Royal Assent. This means despite legalized marijuana not yet being allowed, there are new restrictions on drug-impaired driving. The changes in the bill related to alcohol-impaired driving come into force on December 18, 2018.
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette oversaw the ceremony in the Senate chamber.
The other bills that passed were an assortment of government business:
- Bill C-24, which amends the Salaries Act to create the space for eight new ministers with full minister salaries. Five of those were filled when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed his first cabinet and transferred five portfolios that used to be minister of state roles to full ministers;
- Bill C-50, which creates new rules around political parties’ fundraising. It builds in a requirement for fundraisers to be advertised publicly in advance if they cost $200 or more per ticket and feature the prime minister, cabinet ministers, party leaders, or party leadership candidates. It also requires these events be reported on in some detail to Elections Canada;
- Bill C-66, which expunges convictions related to the public service “gay purge” which Trudeau formally apologized for in the House of Commons last year;
- Bill C-74, the Budget Implementation Bill for Budget 2018, which allows for hundreds of pages of new promises and spending plans to be fulfilled, from parental leave changes to the carbon pricing plan; and
- Bill C-80, which approves departmental spending up to the end of this fiscal year.
And private members' business:
- Bill C-211, which requires the federal government to work alongside the provinces and territories and members of the medical community to create a federal framework to fully address post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Bill C-309, which designates the fourth week in September in each and every year as "Gender Equality Week";
- Bill S-210, which simply repeals the short title of the previous Conservative government’s Bill S-7 regarding forced marriage and polygamy, which was: Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act.; and
- Bill S-218, which was from late Sen. Tobias Enverga, to designate October as Latin American Heritage Month.