First Out of The Gate Again: Ontario's Cannabis Legislation Becomes Law

Update on the final Cannabis Act, 2017 receiving Royal Assent

Bill 174, which enacts the Cannabis Act, 2017, received Royal Assent on December 12.1 Bill 174 also enacts the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017, repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 and replaces them with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, as well as amends the Highway Traffic Act. This bulletin focuses on the changes to the Cannabis Act, 2017 since we last reported on the draft bill.2

What You Need To Know

The final Cannabis Act, 2017 will remain largely similar to the initial published draft. The only notable change is the addition of more severe penalties for the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis products to persons under 19. Upon conviction, the following penalties apply:

  • a corporation: a fine not exceeding $500,000;
  • an individual: a fine not exceeding $200,000 or an imprisonment term not exceeding one year, or both.

Although the Act has become law, it is not yet in force. It will come into force by proclamation at a later date.

What's Next

When Bill 174 was introduced, Ontario's Attorney General indicated that it was the government's intention to pass the bill by year's end. The legislature kept to this timeline and passed this bill within the very short timeframe of one and a half months. Regulations to the Cannabis Act, 2017 are expected to be developed in early 2018, and stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations once released.

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1 See: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/41_Parliament/Session2/b174ra_e.pdf

2 See: "Ontario: First Out of the Gate With Proposed Cannabis Legislation"

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This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

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