Courtesy of Lift Magazine
Conservatives in the House of Commons expressed skepticism today with the Liberals’ proposed Cannabis Act, Bill C-45. The bill received a second reading in the House of Commons today.
During the reading, Conservative MP Rob Nicholson proposed an amendment to decline a second reading of the bill because of the inclusion in the bill of the allowance for adults to grow up to four cannabis plants in their home.
“I would like to move […] that the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word ‘that,’ and substituting the following: ‘This house declines to give second reading to Bill C-45, an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, since this bill makes home grown marijuana more accessible to children.’”
Debate during the second reading broke down over the now-established party lines, with Conservatives expressing concern that the Cannabis Act will increase use and access by young Canadians along with the impacts of cannabis on impaired driving, while those from the NDP expressed concerns with issues like the continued arrest of Canadians for possessions of small amounts as the country waits for legalization.
The NDP’s Critic for Justice and unofficial lead on the cannabis ticket, Alistair MacGregor, said he supports the second reading of the bill, despite having many concerns with aspects of it.
“There are areas of this bill that are of concern to our caucus,” said MacGregor, “but we don’t think that the baby needs to be thrown out with the bathwater. I think this bill in principle needs to be passed at this stage so that the Committee can do its due diligence.”
The bill was explained and defended by Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, who emphasized that Bill C-45 will allow adults to purchase from a regulated retail system of well regulated producers or grow small amounts in their own home. Sale outside the legal framework will be illegal.
Wilson-Raybould also emphasized that criminal charges under C-45 will not target young people, but rather, those who provide access to youth. It will also allow cannabis producers to promote their brands in ways that do not target youth.
Conservative MP Rob Nicholson brought up repeated concerns with what he called a “reckless” approach by the Liberal government to legalize, saying that parents who grow cannabis in their home will be more likely to have kids who can access those plants. The Conservative MP also expressed concerns with costs of implementing the program, as well as concerns with the how the law will impact those Canadians trying to cross the US border.
“The gaping holes in this legislation are indisputable. If home grown marijuana plants are permitted, coupled with alarming and unanswered questions related to marijuana edibles, children will clearly have easier access to the substance. And given the bill’s ambiguity in how much cannabis constitutes an offence, children and teenagers may possess and distribute up to four grams of marijuana with no clear