On Tuesday, Manitoba tabled Bill 11: The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act.
Under the proposed legislation, Manitoba sets the minimum age for purchase and consumption of cannabis at 19. Interestingly enough, this is one year above the Province’s legal drinking age of 18. This is the first Province so far that has not been consistent with these minimum ages. The Province intends to implement fines and tickets for those using fake IDs to purchase and for adults purchasing and distributing to young persons. The maximum amount for possession is set at the federal limit of 30 grams per person.
The Province announced on November 7, 2017, that it would implement a hybrid model for retail cannabis sales. As detailed in a previous post, both the Manitoba Liquor and Gaming Authority (“MLGA”) and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (“MBLL”) will be involved in the proposed model. The MLGA will regulate the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis while the MBLL will oversee the supply and distribution end by ensuring that suppliers (federally licensed producers) are meeting the necessary requirements.
The private sector will be responsible for all sales but will be required to purchase product from the MBLL. A corporation may face up to $500,000 in fines for selling products from suppliers that are not licensed by the federal government. The Province issued a Request for Proposal for the selection of these retailers. The businesses who are ultimately selected to run the Province’s private retail operations will be able to conduct sales online as well.
The MBLL has also announced that it will be issuing grants to companies that are interested in the promotion of sale consumption. This will be done by taking two percent of the net revenue of cannabis sales and applying those amounts to safety and educational campaigns.
The proposed legislation, like in Quebec, will ban personal cultivation of cannabis altogether. This, of course, will not apply to patients who grow cannabis for medical purposes.
Justice Minister Heather Stefanson gave two reasons for banning home-grow. Firstly, to respond to concerns that home-grown cannabis may be diverted to the black market, and, secondly, to assist and make the drug enforcement efforts of police in the Province less difficult.