For The Record: The Government’s Response To The Senate’s Cannabis Legalization Bill (C-45) Amendments

Article by Kady O’Malley, iPolitics

For The Record: The government’s response to the Senate’s pot legalization bill amendments By Kady O'Malley. A vendor trims marijuana with scissors during the annual 4-20 cannabis culture celebration at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on April 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Under parliamentary rules, the government presents the House with its proposed reply to the message from the Senate listing the amendments made to a bill that outlines which amendments it advises the House to accept, and which ones should be rejected or amended further.

The motion will be debated this afternoon. Once that wraps up, there will be a full vote, and if adopted, the message will be duly dispatched to the Senate, which will then consider how to respond to it, which could mean giving in to the will of the Commons, or “insisting” on one or more amendments, which would be communicated to the House.

In the interest of providing a more reader-friendly guide to the process, here’s the full list of Senate amendments to which the government objects — as well its rationale for doing so — or, in some cases, to which it is proposing further amendments.

(The full text of the amendments to which the government is willing to agree — 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11(b) and (c), 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17(b), 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 34, 35, 36 and 37 — is included at the end of this post.)

UPDATE: As it’s not always clear what a particular amendment would do, I’ve added brief summaries, which were provided by a Senate source.

3. New clause 5.2, page 6: Add the following before the heading “Her Majesty”:

“5.2 For greater certainty, this Act does not affect the operation of any provision of provincial legislation that is more restrictive with respect to, or prohibits, the cultivation, propagation or harvesting of cannabis in a dwelling-house.”

SUMMARY: Recognizes provincial authority to be restrictive to the cultivation, propagation, and harvesting of cannabis plants and resolves a conflict between the federal government and the two provinces (Quebec and Manitoba) that have chosen to ban home cultivation

Government response: That the House respectfully disagrees with amendment 3 because the government has been clear that provinces and territories are able to make additional restrictions on personal cultivation but that it is critically important to permit personal cultivation in order to support the government’s objective of displacing the illegal market;

4. Clause 9, pages 10 and 11:

(a) On page 10, add the following after line 3:

“(2.1) Subparagraph (1)(a)(ii) does not apply if the cannabis is distributed to an individual who is 16 years of age or older by their parent or guardian in their dwelling-house.”; and

(b) on page 11, add the following after line 6:

“(5.1) Despite paragraph (5)(a), a charge arising out of a contravention of subparagraph (1)(a)(ii), in respect of cannabis of one or more classes of cannabis the total amount of which, as determined in accordance with Schedule 3, is equivalent to 5 g or less of dried cannabis, is not to be prosecuted by indictment if the accused is less than two years older than the individual referred to in that subparagraph.”

SUMMARY: Removes the criminalization of youth in possession due to social sharing (proximity in age amongst peers of two years, and gives right to parent to socially share with children over the age of 16 at home);

Government response: That the House respectfully disagrees because [it] would be contrary to the stated purpose of the Cannabis Act to protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis

Read the full article here.

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