Pot amend­ments de­nied

Govern­ment re­jects 13 Sen­ate changes to pot bill, in­clud­ing ban on home grow­ing

Journal Pioneer - - CANADA -

The fed­eral Lib­eral govern­ment is re­ject­ing more than a dozen Sen­ate amend­ments to its land­mark law to le­gal­ize cannabis, in­clud­ing the up­per cham­ber’s ef­forts to fur­ther limit - or ban out­right - the abil­ity to cul­ti­vate mar­i­juana at home. In a mo­tion put be­fore the House of Com­mons, the Lib­er­als say they can’t sup­port a Sen­ate amend­ment that would al­low prov­inces to ban home cul­ti­va­tion of mar­i­juana, ar­gu­ing that the bill al­ready gives prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries the abil­ity to im­pose their own re­stric­tions. The orig­i­nal leg­is­la­tion, once passed, would al­low up to four mar­i­juana plants per dwelling. Que­bec and Man­i­toba have al­ready cho­sen to pro­hibit home­grown weed, but the amend­ment would have erased the pos­si­bil­ity of le­gal chal­lenges to their con­sti­tu­tional author­ity to do so. The govern­ment ar­gues it is “crit­i­cally im­por­tant” to per­mit Cana­di­ans to grow pot at home in or­der to sup­port the main goal of shut­ting down the il­le­gal mar­ket. “We have spent months, and in­deed years, talk­ing with ex­perts, re­flect­ing on the best path for­ward on the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis be­cause the cur­rent sys­tem doesn’t work,” said Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. “We’re mak­ing the changes to keep Cana­di­ans safe and one of the strong rec­om­men­da­tions by ex­perts was that we en­sure per­sonal cul­ti­va­tion of four plants at home.” Health Min­is­ter Ginette Petit­pas Tay­lor said con­sis­tency de­mands that cul­ti­va­tion be per­mit­ted, con­sid­er­ing the other con­trolled sub­stances that can be made at home. “Cana­di­ans are al­lowed to make beer at home or wine, and some can even grow to­bacco,” she said. “It is al­ready pos­si­ble for Cana­di­ans to grow cannabis for med­i­cal pur­poses and we ab­so­lutely be­lieve that the leg­is­la­tion should be con­sis­tent when it comes to recre­ational cannabis.” The Lib­er­als also say they won’t sup­port amend­ments aimed at ban­ning the sale of mar­i­jua­nabranded swag like T-shirts, nor one that would have re­quired a reg­istry of any­one in­volved in cannabis com­pa­nies - an ef­fort, sen­a­tors say, to keep or­ga­nized crime out of the le­gal pot game. The Sen­ate approved the Trudeau govern­ment’s pot bill last week, which - once passed - would lift Canada’s 95-yearold pro­hi­bi­tion on recre­ational cannabis, but made nearly four dozen amend­ments. The ma­jor­ity of the changes were largely tech­ni­cal in na­ture. The govern­ment says it can live with 27 of the changes to the bill, is propos­ing tweaks to two other amend­ments, and is re­ject­ing 13 out­right.

CP PHOTO

A man smokes a mar­i­juana joint dur­ing the an­nual 4/20 mar­i­juana cel­e­bra­tion on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa ear­lier this year.

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