13 June 2018
Under the pending Cannabis Act, Canada expects to legalize cannabis for recreational use by July 2018. While the Act proposes a high-level framework for legalization, it omits any details relating to the sale, distribution and cultivation, thus leaving it up to the individual provinces and territories to enact their own regulatory schemes. Recently, the Quebec government released the details of its proposed cannabis regulations with the introduction of Bill 157 (currently tabled for consideration in 2018), which would create a provincially-run cannabis board known as Societe Quebecoise du Cannabis (SQC) to conduct all cannabis sale and distribution operations. Quebec joins Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as Canadian provinces that would sell cannabis only through their own regulatory boards. Bill 157 also prohibits cultivation of cannabis for personal use (even though the Act allows individuals to grow up to four plants), effectively creating a regulatory monopoly for all cannabis activities in Quebec. Cultivation rule violations will carry fines and growing more than the allotted plants would be a criminal offense. Bill 157 also creates a strict “zero tolerance” policy for driving under the influence, and allows police to arrest anyone who fails a roadside test (and provides for a 90-day license suspension). For more information, see http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/travaux-parlementaires/projets-loi/projet-loi-157-41-1.html.