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Cannabis Act takes centre stage in Senate as debate intensifies

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Cannabis Act takes centre stage in Senate as debate intensifies

Proposed legislation that sets the framework for legalizing and regulating cannabis in Canada is expected to take centre stage as Senators visit a licensed cannabis production facility.

Proposed legislation that sets the framework for legalizing and regulating cannabis in Canada is expected to take centre stage as Senators visit a licensed cannabis production facility as part of their study of the bill.

Last week, the Senate opened its doors to three ministers and a parliamentary secretary for a two-hour televised hearing on the proposed Cannabis Act, which sets out controls for the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis.

Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Justice Jody Wilson Raybould, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, as well as Parliamentary Secretary Bill Blair, a former police chief, spent two hours on the Senate front lines fielding questions about the proposed legislation.

“The breadth of the questions, as well as the detailed answers, laid the groundwork for moving the Cannabis Act forward in the Red Chamber, while benefiting from serious reflection and debate,” said Senator Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate.

Many answers focused on the public health and safety imperative of the bill, which is designed to protect youth and communities through education, enforcement and the eventual eradication of organized crime as the black market gives way to strictly regulated and lawful production and trade of cannabis.

Today, Senators are set to visit a licensed cannabis production facility in Smiths Falls, Ont., as an opportunity to view how the product is grown in commercial quantities and ask detailed questions to company representatives. A second visit for Senators is scheduled on February 26.

Senator Tony Dean, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Upper Chamber, kicked off debate on the bill in the Senate on November 30.

Several more Senators have since spoken to the bill, which remains at second reading. Read the speeches so far:

Cannabis Act takes centre stage in Senate as debate intensifies

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