News release

Amendment to Cannabis Legislation Protects Nova Scotians from Unreasonable Searches

Today, October 28, the government introduced an amendment to the Cannabis Control Act to clarify the standard of reasonableness required to search a place or vehicle.

In a recent provincial court case, the section of the act that deals with search and seizure was found to lack clarity and ruled statutorily invalid.

“Public health and safety are the primary goals of our cannabis legislation, but it is equally important that the charter rights of Nova Scotians are protected from unreasonable searches,” said Brad Johns, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “We believe this amendment strikes that balance.”

The amendment to section 24(1)(a) of the Cannabis Control Act requires the standard of “reasonableness” to ensure compliance with the charter and clarity to law enforcement officers.

Police investigating violations under the act will need to have “reasonable grounds to believe” before conducting a search for illegal cannabis. The act currently allows an officer to conduct a search “at any reasonable time.”

The standard is in line with the law in other provinces.

The objective of the act is to protect public health and safety; protect youth and restrict their access to cannabis; ensure cannabis is sold in accordance with the act; and to deter unlawful activities in relation to cannabis through appropriate enforcement and sanctions.

Quick Facts:

  • in an oral decision on March 4, the Nova Scotia provincial court ruled in R. vs. Daniels that the search of Mr. Daniels’s car by police was unreasonable
  • the court ruled that inspection powers in the Cannabis Control Act infringed on Mr. Daniels’s rights under section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • that section of the charter protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizure, requiring that all searches be reasonable

Additional Resources:

Bills tabled in the legislature are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1

Information on legal cannabis in Nova Scotia: https://www.novascotia.ca/cannabis/

Cannabis Control Act: https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/cannabis%20control.pdf

Media Contact:

Heather Fairbairn
Cell: 902-717-2151 Email: