Article by David Brown, Lift News
As Bill C-45 reaches report stage in the House of Commons on November 1, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has proposed an amendment that she hopes will draw attention to what she says are unreasonably harsh criminal penalties for Canadians sharing cannabis.
May’s motion calls for the deletion of Clause 9 of the Cannabis Act, which deals with different aspects of the distribution (but not sale) of cannabis. For example, among other things*, it allows Canadians 18 and over to share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adult Canadians, and specifically prevents any amount being shared with Canadians under 18.
For anyone violating this by sharing more than thirty grams with another adult, or sharing any amount of cannabis with a Canadian under 18, criminal penalties of up to 14 years in prison are possible.
*(It also assigns penalties for anyone who distributes one or more cannabis plants “that are budding or flowering, or more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering” and prohibits young Canadians from sharing more than five grams of cannabis with other young Canadians. It also specifically prevents the argument of not knowing the person you share cannabis with is a minor.)
As the bill is currently written, says May, it would be possible, for example, for an 18 year old to receive up to 14 years in prison for simply passing a joint to a classmate who may be 17. While she says she doesn’t see this as a likely sentence from a judge, it’s still too harsh of a possible sentence for what is supposed to be a legalization bill, says May.
“It’s unlikely a judge is going to give a kid a 14 year sentence if he shares a joint with a classmate that he thought was 18 as well. but the onus of proof is on the person to ascertained how old the [person they are sharing with] were. That isn’t something that kids normally do with each other if they think that they’re the same age and they’re not aware of the penalties. On a legal product.