On April 3 the Nova Scotia government introduced its new Cannabis Control Act, which establishes the province’s legislative framework for recreational cannabis legalization. The Cannabis Control Act establishes rules around the sale, distribution, purchase, possession, cultivation, propagation and harvesting of cannabis.

The Cannabis Control Act enacts new legislation and amends seven other pieces of legislation, including the Liquor Control Act, Smoke-free Places Act and Motor Vehicle Act.

Highlights of the cannabis legislative framework include:

Retail and distribution:

  • establishing the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) to be the sole authorized seller of cannabis
  • requiring the NSLC to comply with all federal requirements
  • promoting social objectives for responsible consumption

Legal age, possession and cultivation:

  • setting a legal age of 19 for use, purchase, cultivation and possession of cannabis
  • establishing penalties for youth who possess cannabis or adults who provide cannabis or cannabis accessories to young people
  • maintaining federal rules on personal possession in public and home cultivation
  • harmonizing similar fines for alcohol with proposed fines for cannabis

Consumption:

  • restricting public consumption of cannabis, in line with tobacco, through a strengthened Smoke-free Places Act
  • confirming municipalities have the authority to set stricter rules through bylaw
  • providing authority for landlords to amend leases to put reasonable rules in place about recreational cannabis smoking and cultivation with notice; tenants are then able to provide notice of termination

Road safety and impaired driving:

  • prohibiting driving while impaired by cannabis
  • establishing administrative sanctions for those who drive impaired, including licence suspensions and reinstatement conditions
  • aligning alcohol and drug-related penalties, where applicable, such as longer revocation periods where a child is present or the driver has previous revocations
  • providing law enforcement with the authority to get drivers they suspect of being impaired off the road immediately
  • prohibiting cannabis use of any kind in vehicles, including motorized boats
  • restricting how cannabis can be transported and stored in vehicles
  • establishing zero tolerance for new drivers.

 The proposed framework is subject to approval by the House of Assembly. Many provincial laws will not come into effect until federal legislation is proclaimed.

For more information on cannabis legalization, visit http://www.novascotia.ca/cannabis .

April 2018