CANNABIS CULTURE – [Editor’s Note: THIS STORY CONTAINS INCORRECT INFORMATION – Bill S-10 has NOT yet passed the Senate. Click here for more info].
The Senate of Canada has passed the controversial Bill S-10, which includes mandatory minimum jail sentences of six months for growing as few as five marijuana plants. The bill now heads to the House of Commons to be voted on by Members of Parliament.
A similar bill, C-15, made it through the Senate and House last year, but was first watered-down and ultimately killed when Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament in the wake of allegations of Canadian involvement in torture in Afghanistan.
Now, with a stacked Senate, the Conservatives have been able to pass a stronger version of the bill, which includes mandatory prison terms of six months for just a few plants. These mandatory sentences increases to a two-year minimum for growing or dealing near a school or park, and even more time with other ‘aggravating factors’.
The bill also includes mandatory jail terms of 18 months for extracting and sharing hash or making pot edibles. This means medical marijuana users who make pot cookies would be at risk of arrest, as there is no protection of this activity by current medical marijuana laws.
YOU CAN HELP STOP S-10 FROM BECOMING CANADIAN LAW
Let the Liberal Party know you are against this bill – call Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff: (613) 995-9364
Click here for information about occupying your Member of Parliaments office as a protest.
Sign up at WhyProhibition.ca to get involved in marijuana activism online and receive regular updates about S-10 and protest actions in your area.
Watch Cannabis Culture for more news about Bill S-10 and upcoming activism events.
Canadian Senate Passes Mandatory Minimums for Five Marijuana Plants
by Janice Tibbetts, Postmedia News
The Senate has backed away from a fight with the Conservative government and passed a controversial drug-sentencing bill that would automatically imprison people caught growing five or more marijuana plants.
One year after the upper house watered down proposed legislation by raising the bar to more than 200 plants, a new version of the bill is once again before the Senate and the chamber of sober second thought has decided that the previous amendment would never survive a final vote among MPs.
“It was irrational,” conceded Liberal Sen. George Baker. “It wasn’t going to fly with the Conservatives, and it wasn’t going to fly with the Liberals.”
A Senate-Commons tug-of-war over the bill — to impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes for the first time in Canada — began more than a year ago, when the Liberals in the upper chamber enraged Justice Minister Rob Nicholson by altering his bill so that anyone caught with six to 200 pot plants would not go to jail.
The bill was in its final stages when it died after Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament last December.
Nicholson revived his proposed legislation in the spring but ignored the Senate amendment and set the bar back at his original five plants.
The bill was reintroduced in the Senate, which is reviewing the proposals before it sends them to the House of Commons for public hearings and a final vote.
Nicholson’s proposed legislation would impose mandatory six-month terms for growing five or more plants with the intent to sell, and one-year sentences when marijuana dealing is linked to organized crime or a weapon is involved.
Minimum sentences would increase to two years for dealing such drugs as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine to young people, or pushing drugs near a school or other places frequented by youths.
Baker said reviving the Senate amendment of 200 plants was never raised this time around. The Senate dug its heels last year simply to “make a statement” against mandatory minimum jail terms, which he described as “crazy.”
The Liberals proposed a different amendment earlier this month in the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee — to impose jail terms for growing 20 plants or more — but it failed.
Conservatives gained a majority in the Senate this year.
– Article from The Vancouver Sun