ENHANCED CANNABIS POSSESSION RULES PROCLAIMED
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Changes Make Manitoba Inspectors First in Canada to Seize Illicit Cannabis, Support Health and Safety: Cullen
Enhanced cannabis possession rules are being proclaimed effective Jan. 1, 2020, to stop the illicit cannabis market, preserve the integrity of the legal retail cannabis system, and protect health and safety, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Our government has made health and safety our top priority throughout the legalization process,” said Cullen. “These legislative changes about possession restrictions give provincial inspectors the ability to seize illicit cannabis, helping us crack down on the illicit market without further increasing the burden on police officers.”
The amendments to The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act make it an offence to possess more than 30 grams of non-medical cannabis in a public place. Similar federal prohibitions already exist under The Excise Act, 2001 and The Cannabis Act, but provincial inspectors appointed under The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act cannot enforce those laws.
These provisions are the first in Canada to allow provincial officials to issue tickets and make seizures related to cannabis, the minister noted.
The changes also make it an offence to possess cannabis that is not packaged, stamped and labelled in accordance with federal legislation. By prohibiting the possession of illicit cannabis, the province is supporting the legal retail cannabis market. Exemptions in the legislation allow individuals to remove cannabis from its original packaging for storage and consumption.
The new provincial offences give enforcement officers the option to proceed less formally by issuing a ticket, rather than going through the more complex process of requiring an individual to attend Provincial Court to deal with a formal charge.
The pre-set fines for possessing more than 30 grams of non-medical cannabis and for possessing improperly packaged and labelled cannabis will be $672.
In September 2018, the Manitoba government established pre-set fines for other cannabis-related provincial offences including supplying cannabis to a person under the age of 19, smoking and vaping in provincial parks, transporting improperly stored cannabis and failing drug-screening tests as part of the graduated driver licensing program.
As part of its broader response to the federal legalization of non-medical cannabis, the Manitoba government has also introduced legislation that would formalize a social responsibility fee for cannabis retailers, established a hybrid retail model to support public safety and economic development, and launched an awareness campaign about the laws and risks connected to cannabis use.
For more information on cannabis in Manitoba, visit www.gov.mb.ca/cannabis/.
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