Marijuana will be legalized on October 17 across Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement yesterday at the House of Commons, after Senate passed the Cannabis Act with a vote of 52-29.

"Thanks to the hard work of both Chambers of Parliament, the Cannabis Task Force, along with input from all Canadians, we have passed historic legislation that will legalize and strictly regulate the sale of cannabis in our country,” said Kenora MP Bob Nault, following the announcement.

The date of October 17 was chosen to give provinces a grace period, as they work to finalize their plans for retail and online purchasing.

“While we have a few steps left before legalization, including an implementation phase, this is, nonetheless, a transformative piece of legislation,”
Nault said.

Canadians over the age of 19 will be able to posses up to 30 grams of marijuana at a time. Consumption will be confined to private residences, as it will be illegal to consume in public places. Residents will also be allowed to cultivate four marijuana plants
in their home.

Senate has also previously introduced and reinforced a number of laws regarding impaired driving, ahead of the expected marijuana legalization.

"To compliment the Cannabis Act, Bill C-46, which is currently in the Senate, will provide new powers for police and strengthen penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” Nault added.

The new, tougher laws against drug-impaired driving will include zero tolerance for: young drivers aged 21 and under, novice drivers – G1, G2, M1 and M2 licence holders and all commercial drivers.

For cannabis, the federal government is expected to approve a new screening device, and setting the thresholds for detectable cannabis presence in the coming months. It's expected that the new screening device would act similar to a breathalyzer, and would be an oral fluid screening device.

Roughly 29 per cent of all road fatalities in Ontario involve a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

Under former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario was set to open 40 retail stores later this year, controlled by the LCBO.
Additionally, the federal government has indicated the online sales will be launched alongside retail locations.

Premier-elect Doug Ford has not confirmed if his PC government will follow through on Wynne’s initiative, besides previously saying that Ontario would be a “free market” for cannabis sales. However, a free market doesn’t mean that residents will be off the hook if they supply marijuana to an individual under the age of 19.

“We know that our previous model of prohibition failed to keep our children safe. That is why this new legislation will place strict penalties on those who make cannabis available to youth under the legal age, while allowing adults to legally purchase, grow and use a limited quantity of cannabis.”

People or businesses that are convicted of illegally selling or distributing cannabis could face fines of up to $250,000 for individuals, and / or jail time of up to two years. Corporations would face fines of up to $1 million for the same offence.

More Local News

Aerial truck purchase pays off for city, firefighters

It was a tough first test for the City of Kenora’s new $1.2 million aerial firetruck. The vehicle was used on its first fire on Sunday, as emergency responders fought the Main Street fire – which led…

Police target, charge distracted drivers

Police are reminding residents to focus on the roads, not their phones. OPP officers across the North West Region recently completed a distracted driving enforcement blitz, taking place between March…

Pothole season is here

Spring is in the air, and with the shift from winter snow plowing to snow melting, conditions are perfect for potholes to form. Moisture seeps into the pavement and sub-base, freezes, expands and…

Main Street in Kenora open

Main Street in Kenora has opened to vehicles and pedestrians. The CIBC building, demolition site, and Bargin shop remain blocked off by police, as they continue to investigate the cause of Sunday's…

City approves 2019 budget

Kenora city concil officially passed their budget for 2019. “This budget was a particularly difficult one for council," said Mayor Dan Reynard. From the city's perspective, the 3.55 per cent increase…

Suspect apprehended

Police have apprehended a man, following a hold and secure at Kenora schools this afternoon. At around 2:10 p.m. members of the Kenora OPP detachment responded to an incident in the north side of the…

Hold and secure in Kenora

A hold and secure was been put in place for students in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, as well as the Kenora Catholic District School Board. Senior staff from both school boards are…

CIBC branch manager provides update for customers

CIBC Branch manager Jackie Hailstone said Sunday's fire on Main St didn't impact the inside of the building too badly. "The inside is actually not too bad. We have more concerns around the outside of…

Main street clean up joint effort

No word yet on when Main St in Kenora will reopen to vehicular traffic. The clean up of the street is a joint effort between the Kenora Fire & Emergency Services Department, Kenora OPP and City of…

Kenora mayor proud of how the community stepped up

Kenora Mayor Dan Reynard said it's always difficult when tragic events happen in the community, such as Sunday's fatal fire in downtown Kenora. "Such a tragedy anytime we see, or feel, a loss of life… is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.