Recently, the Manitoba government introduced Bill 15, amending The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act (the “Act”) as it relates to the possession of cannabis in public. Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced that the proposed amendments would further protect health and safety, preserve the integrity of the legal retail cannabis system and stop the illegal cannabis market.
One of the proposed amendments is to prohibit Manitobans from possessing more than 30 grams of cannabis in a public place. This prohibition is not necessarily news to Manitobans as the federal Cannabis Act currently prohibits individuals from possessing cannabis in public where such amount is equivalent to more than 30 grams of dried cannabis. However, if Bill 15 receives Royal Assent, the new statutory provision would allow for provincially appointed inspectors, including taxation officials, to provide tickets to offenders of the possession limit. The fines associated with the proposed new offence would be established by regulation to the Act. The option to fine offenders is in addition to the ability of police to charge offenders with either a summary or an indictable offence under the federal Cannabis Act.
In addition to the restrictions on possession limits, Bill 15 also proposes to restrict individuals from possessing cannabis that is not packaged, labelled and stamped in accordance with the federal packaging requirements. To meet the packaging requirements, such cannabis must be in original packaging and stamped in accordance with the Excise Tax, 2001 (Canada), and comply with all restrictions contained in the federal Cannabis Act and regulations. However, Justice Minister Cullen has stated that the Act will contain exemptions to allow for individuals to remove cannabis from its original packaging for storage and consumption purposes.
The Torkin Manes Cannabis Law Group will monitor the status of the Bill and provide updates as new information becomes available.