Proposed federal legislation

On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis – Bills C-45 Cannabis Act and C-46 An Act to amend the Criminal Code. This legislation is expected to come into effect by July 2018. See also the plain language overview of Bill C-45.

Cannabis is currently an illegal substance (with the exception of authorized medical use) under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The federal legislation would:

  • allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of legally-produced cannabis
  • allow adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household
  • set the minimum age for purchase and use at 18 years of age, with the option for provinces to increase the age limit
  • enable a regulatory regime for the licensed production of cannabis, which would be controlled by the federal government
  • enable a regulatory regime for the distribution and sale of cannabis, which would be controlled by the provincial government
  • establish new provisions to address drug-impaired driving, as well as making several changes to the overall legal framework to address alcohol impaired driving

Learn more about the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada.

Alberta’s approach

The Government of Alberta has an obligation and an opportunity to actively shape how the province will adapt to cannabis legalization in a way that best suits Albertans’ needs, circumstances and values.

Our focus is on:

  • limiting the illegal market for cannabis
  • keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth
  • protecting public health
  • protecting safety on roads, in workplaces and in public space

To do this, government will continue to assess the implications of legalization, engage with a wide range of Albertans to hear their views and determine their needs, and respond in a way that makes the most sense for the province.

This will include:

  • Developing a made-in-Alberta policy approach to address provincial aspects of legalization – the Alberta Cannabis Framework.
  • Advocating to the federal government on behalf of Albertans on issues of concern or uncertainty.
  • Working with provincial and territorial colleagues to develop common approaches (where feasible) to issues where it makes sense to have consistency across the country.
  • Supporting municipal and indigenous governments with the tools and information they need to decide issues within their jurisdiction in accordance with local needs.

Role of provinces

While legalization is a federal decision, provinces and municipalities have been given areas of responsibility.

Table 1: Jurisdictional responsibilities

** provinces will have the ability to strengthen legislation for these areas under federal jurisdiction

Activity Responsible
Federal Provincial Municipal
Possession limits ** Yes No No
Trafficking Yes No No
Advertisement & packaging ** Yes No No
Impaired driving Yes Yes No
Medical cannabis Yes No No
Seed-to-sale tracking system Yes No No
Production (cultivation and processing) Yes No No
Age limit (federal minimum) ** Yes No No
Public health Yes Yes No
Education Yes Yes Yes
Taxation Yes Yes Yes
Home cultivation (growing plants at home) ** Yes No No
Workplace safety No Yes No
Distribution and wholesaling No Yes No
Retail model No Yes No
Retail location and rules No Yes Yes
Regulatory compliance Yes Yes No
Public consumption No Yes Yes
Land use/zoning No No Yes