The current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes. That is why this spring the Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis.
Today the Government of Canada announced up to $274 million to support law enforcement and border efforts to detect and deter drug-impaired driving and enforce the proposed cannabis legalization and regulation. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, these investments will support the Government’s commitment to provide regulated and restricted access to cannabis no later than July 2018.
To support the proposed Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the Government has committed up to $161 million for training frontline officers in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving, building law enforcement capacity across the country, providing access to drug screening devices, developing policy, bolstering research, and raising public awareness about the dangers of drug-impaired driving.
Of the $161 million, provinces and territories will be able to access up to $81 million over the next five years for new law enforcement training, and to build capacity to enforce new and stronger laws related to drug-impaired driving. Public Safety Canada is already engaged with provinces and territories to identify current law enforcement capacity which will inform how federal funding will be distributed.
To support the proposed Bill C-45, Cannabis Act, the Government has committed up to $113.5 million in federal funding over the next five years to Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to develop policy, ensure organized crime does not infiltrate the legalized system and keep cannabis from crossing our borders.
On April 13, 2017, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. Following Royal Assent, and subject to Parliamentary approval, the proposed legislation would allow adults to legally possess and use cannabis. This would mean that possession of small amounts of cannabis would no longer be a criminal offence and would prevent profits from going into the pockets of criminal organizations.
Finance Canada will consult shortly on a proposed new taxation regime on cannabis, which will take into account the goals of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and profits out of the hands of criminals.
The Government is toughening laws to enforce a zero tolerance approach for those driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs, which would authorize new tools for police to better detect drivers who have drugs in their body.
“We are working closely with our partners to ensure law enforcement is well trained, to build capacity across the country and at our border, and to raise awareness about the dangers of drug-impaired driving. I am confident that together we will make our roads and communities safer.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Our Government is taking a public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis. We are committed to ensuring that Canadians, especially youth understand the risks associated with cannabis use to make better health decisions. Today’s investments, subject to Parliamentary approval, demonstrate our commitment to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, particularly youth.
-The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health
“Our Government has proposed comprehensive legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis and to create new stronger laws to punish those who drive while impaired, as well as deter others from getting behind the wheel. This means a significant change in public policy that requires significant resources and support. We are working together with our partners and various levels of government to prepare for the implementation of a new regulatory framework.”
-The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“I have crossed our country discussing the legalization and regulation of cannabis with various stakeholders, including municipal and police officials. They made it clear to me that they need more resources for training, tools and technology to make our roads and highways safer from the scourge of impaired driving. Today’s announcement is proof that our government has listened.”
– Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- In June 2017, Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators completed a successful pilot project with seven police jurisdictions across Canada to test the use of oral fluid drug screening devices as an additional tool for detecting the recent presence of drugs.