Bill C-15 Dead, For Now

CANNABIS CULTURE – The severe new drug bill that would have brought mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana crimes to Canada, Bill C-15, has died as a result of the Harper government’s decision to prorogue Parliament.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper shut down the Canadian government for two months, effectively scuttling all bills before the current Parliament, including Bill C-15.

Though the Conservative Party is calling it “routine”, critics see the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament until after the Winter Olympics as an affront to democracy and a “scam” – a politically shrewd move to avoid criticism and inquiry into Canada’s role in the torture of prisoners in Afghanistan.

It may be underhanded, but the move is a relief for Canadian cannabis activists and pot users who have been fighting to stop Bill C-15 from becoming law.

“It is a delay,” says policy director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, Jacob Hunter. “It gives us more time to organize into an even more effective political force to stop this in the Parliament.”

The bill, which includes draconian new measures including mandatory minimums of nine months for growing even one cannabis plant, had already been approved by the House of Commons. In the Senate, the bill met some opposition and minor amendments were made and passed. The bill was due for another House vote before it became Canadian law.

Though Bill C-15 is dead for now, it is expected that Conservatives will reintroduce a similar bill in the new year.

CBC News republished an email sent by the government to Conservative supporters claiming that the bill will be reintroduced soon, when the Conservatives will have more power in the Senate:

We will reintroduce in their original form the consumer safety law (Bill C-6) and the anti-drug-crime law (Bill C-15) that the Ignatieff Liberals gutted.

We will seek Opposition agreement to proceed expeditiously with other Government legislation — particularly laws urgently needed to fight crime — that the Ignatieff Liberals have blocked and obstructed.

The fight continues. Visit Cannabis Culture for more updates on Bill C-15 and its future incarnations. Register on to find out about the latest anti-drug-bill campaigns and repost those campaigns to forums and social networks. You can also contact your MP and tell them to vote on any future “tough-on-crime” bills from the Conservatives.

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