Canadian Conservatives Want Mandatory Minimums For Marijuana

The Tories are poised to revive a bill that would impose mandatory-minimum sentences on people convicted of growing small numbers of pot plants.

The Conservative government will re-introduce its drug bill this week in the Senate, as part of its continued re-tabling of tough-on-crime legislation that died when the last Parliament was prorogued.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson dropped broad hints Sunday that the new legislation would revive a controversial provision — a mandatory six-month sentence for people convicted of growing as few as five pot plants.

The Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee altered the Conservative bill in December raising the minimum-sentence provision to convictions for 200 plants, while preserving a judge’s discretion for lesser transgressions.

At the time, Nicholson criticized the Senate and the Liberals for the changes, but the legislative debate ended when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was able to prorogue Parliament. The prime minister stacked the Senate with additional Conservatives to give them a majority in the upper house over the Liberals.

Nicholson said with the Conservatives now in control of the Senate, he expects to get the drug bill passed quickly, as he originally intended it.

“All I’ll say is I wasn’t impressed by the amendments made in the Senate and again we will be introducing it into the Senate. The bill that we will introduce I’m confident will have a much better chance of passing,” Nicholson told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday.

“They watered down some of the provisions with respect to the penalties. They wanted a separate aboriginal system. And again we want the bill to apply to everybody. And the penalties we were comfortable with.”

Nicholson wouldn’t give specific details, except to say that, “there will be mandatory-sentencing provisions in the bill.”

The December amendments also gave aboriginal convicts an exemption from the minimum-sentence provisions.

The Senate said it wanted to target kingpins and other major players in the drug trade, while giving judges more leeway in dealing with lesser offences.

Many analysts have warned that the Conservatives’ tough-on-crime agenda would swell Canadian prisons, and create soaring new costs.

This past week, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the federal price tag for legislation that would end two-for-one credit for time served in pre-custody would be at least $2 billion over five years. That was up from his earlier estimate of $90 million over two years.

Toews only gave that estimate after The Canadian Press reported that the cost could be as high as $10 billion over five years for federal and provincial governments.

Nicholson refused to be drawn into any discussion about the potential costs associated with the drug bill.

“What’s the cost to victims when violent individuals are out on the street that shouldn’t be?” the justice minister asked Sunday.

“It does cost money to incarcerate people and I believe that Canadians have been willing to pay those costs up to this point and they’ll continue to do so. If we don’t, then Canadians will be further victimized. That’s what victims groups tell me all the time.”

The Vancouver police department said it was “disturbed” by the amendments made by Liberal senators, saying they would lead to a proliferation of grow-ops with less than 200 plants.

But groups such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health told the Senate committee last fall that mandatory-minimum sentences are a bad idea, saying drug dependency is a health issue, not a criminal justice matter.

The group told the committee that mandatory minimums have led to “ballooning” prison populations in the United States, and that several states were now focusing more on drug treatment programs.

The Conservatives have been critical of the Senate in the past for tinkering with legislation that was passed by the House of Commons.

“The bill will continue to focus on drug dealers and organized crime and that was the focus of the bill that I had in the Senate for over six months. This bill will be consistent with that,” Nicholson said Sunday.

“It sends out the right message that if you get involved with drug dealing there’s going to be serious consequences. It’s consistent with what I’ve been told by law-enforcement agencies and my international counterparts that the people involved in dealing drugs are part of organized crime.”

Nicholson said the government also planned this week to reintroduce its auto-theft bill in the Senate and would table a white-collar crime bill in the Commons.

– Article from The Canadian Press.



  1. Anonymous on

    Conservatives are the kids you picked on in school. Now they are passing laws to stifle your enjoyment in life. Canada is fighting a war, has a large financial deficit and is now passing laws based on abortion rights. Can you say George Bush is alive and well and living in your building??

  2. Anonymous on

    Ottawa is a PAPER jungle.We do not want to engage in civil disobedience. Pick a day every month on the 20th,and spread as much PAPER litter on parliament hill as we can,so that the PAPER trail is Visible and as disruptive and as non-violent as possible to walkers and drivers.Then the seemingly Invisible struggle will become tangible.Maybe all paper should be blank,so that real government power people can make the required changes.

  3. The Ballyhoo on

    This guy is a complete jerk-off. Penalties for hard-core drug dealers is all fine. Suggesting that someone who grows their own pot for personal and friends is linked to organized crime is complete and utter ignorance. What else do we expect from these cretins? Nothing.


  4. Adam on

    Today the conservatives reintroduced the auto theft bill, but unlike the cannabis bill, they are introducing it into the house. The only bill they want to bypass our democratically elected representatives is this cannabis bill, which the majority of Canadians want legalized.

    With the conservatives there is no democracy, it is Jesus camp and they know whats best for ‘us people’ and they will punish us if we do something which to them is a sin.

  5. Anonymous on

    that’s a cop, or some lame square in sheep’s clothing. He goes from “the stoners, WE’RE…” to “..just being pushed down on THEIR faces.”

    “Pathetic rats?” Maybe your role reversal persists.

  6. Anonymous on

    Senate bills are numbered in sequence. I hope it’s S-10, then we can say this Chevy doesn’t run!

  7. Anonymous on

    You are totally right. Unfortunately our Prime Minister and the rest of their conservative government do not have fully functional brains. They ignore direct scientific evidence and instead fabricate lies and propaganda to make whatever they say right. I honestly can’t comprehend why the majority of Canadians support this political party. We kicked the liberals out of power for the advertisement scandal and look at how the how the conservatives are behaving. It’s darn right sicking!!! The scandals with Helena Geurgis and her husband. This ridiculous crime bill, the abortion issue and now one of the ministers just told a group of people trying to get them to include abortion to “shut the F up about the issue.” As a Canadian this is completely unbecoming and as government officials this is just plain wrong and they ought to be ashamed of themselves!!! What gets me is despite all this their ratings have not changed at all. I hope Canadians stand up to these pricks come election time and show them that we will not tolerate any government official acting this way no matter what their political views are.


  8. Adam on

    This bill is targeted at the small personal grow ops. 5 plants?! That’s a one person sized garden, this law will force small time growers to buy their weed from the black market…creating and funding more crime!!!

    6 months for 5 plants, or 2 years for 1000 plants. Do you think this law deters people from running a large scale grow op? This will only create more because less people will risk growing a couple plants, but will still use cannabis. How does this bill decrease demand for cannabis? This is only going to create more organized crime, and more violence, while filling up prisons with citizens whose only crime was growing 5 plants. This is going to cost society billions, and the number of people who smoke pot won’t change.

  9. man4cannabis on

    if all the cannabis user would just go vote it would get the conservative out but im dreaming lol go vote i am this election i missed a few but i need to make a change GO VOTE!!!!!!! make a difference!

  10. Dave on

    FUCK-YOU, your ass is grass because you have not spine!

  11. Anonymous on

    Rob Nicholson conservative and hard liner of the worst kind.
    Dont point your finger at me or anybody else.You wont win mr justice there are just too many of us.Keep building your damn prisons….one day well get rid of you…

  12. Daniel Johnson on

    “The December amendments also gave aboriginal convicts an exemption from the minimum-sentence provisions.”
    This is blatant racism. This should not be tolerated.

  13. Daniel Johnson on

    Because of, not in spite of, the fact that a majority of Canadians want marijuana legalized.

  14. Anti-alcohol activist on

    Write your MP and demand mandatory minimum sentences for drinking-and-driving, alcohol-induced assault or murder, and drunken spousal assault. Let’s put violent people in jail, eh?

  15. Sparkky on

    How is this possible? You cannot get stoned off of seeds! If anyone is guilty of conspiring to manufacture it is the people who ordered the seeds, not Mr. Emery! Who would stop nicholson from extraditing, or question him when he does? He will just let the whole thing blow over and no one will ever notice! Except Emery’s followers. But there aren’t that many of us to make a difference! I agree with the poster that says our government needs to physically be removed from power, but since canadians DONT have the right to bear arms, that just isn’t going to happen! But with all our troops over seas then now might be the time! I don’t own any guns and there is nothing I can do to change anything so I guess if I ever get busted I will just have to pay my fine and court costs and lawyer fees! That’s where the justice system really cleans up and makes money! If I pay, everything will go away! Lawyers, judges, crown prosecutors, they don’t follow the law! They just take the handouts from their buddy buddy collegues and do what they are told! There is no law written in stone! There is always a loophole! Unfortunately for Marc, he fell right into their loophole and the only thing that will save him is our justice system which is inherently broken for the time being! How the he’ll did conservatives get in office anyways? The adscam scandal? I’d pay the liberals $300 million right now to get back in offices and start over! Canadians made to big of a deal about backroom deals that happen ever fucking day in all sectors of business! Now look at where we are! Thanks for voting conservative!(sarcastic)

  16. Anonymous on

    C-15 died when Mr Harper did his 2nd prorogation (for one reason, to appoint his rubber stamp Senators). To reintroduce C-15 to the Senate, you need the full support of all House of Commons MPs otherwise it must be reintroduced into the House.

    UNLESS they rename it S-15 and totally bypass our elected MPS (who now may not pass C-15 because they are better informed by the public debate on it) and use Mr Harper’s rubber stamp Senate (not elected and not free to think).

    This is not democracy.

  17. Anonymous on

    The Minister is going to bypass the House of Commons and go directly to the Senate ? I guess he must feel it wouldn’t pas the House of Commons.

  18. Anonymous on

    not if there is an “extraditiongate”. let us say nicholson disregards what is written under the blacked out pages. it is already absurd that someone could remove wording from documents of evidence in the case after they have been asked for by a member of parliament. that absurdity multiplies if a justice minister of the country does not ask for non doctored copies to see if the reasons for arrest might put the extradition in jeopardy. your justice minister is in a very awkward position right now and if he steps out of line you just watch him get put over the coals by his opposition.
    there is just no way he can ignore or pretend he did not see this stuff seeing as it has already been put forth by his opposition that there are inconsistencies and inappropriate elements in this case.
    IF nicolson approaches this in anyway other than what is right i will personally write a news paper their headline.
    it may as well be the conservatives that blacked out the documents.

  19. Anonymous on

    let us not confuse that marc is already facing penalty for breaking a law.
    it should not matter if the justice minister feels that the law is a good one that was broken by marcs actions.
    what should matter is if there is good reason under the rules of the extradition process that the extradition should not occur. for example you could reason out a likeness between the two different countries penalties under the current CDSA but as justice minister you are bound to make an assessment on the case information.

  20. Anonymous on

    “It does cost money to incarcerate people and I believe that Canadians have been willing to pay those costs up to this point and they’ll continue to do so. If we don’t, then Canadians will be further victimized. That’s what victims groups tell me all the time.”

    Yeah, those poor victims of people who grow 5 plants. How will they ever recover. Kingpins like that are just too dangerous to be in society, if you happen to be completely insane, like Rob Nicholson. Unfortunately, the Canadian political system is so poorly designed that once a person becomes Prime Minister they have pretty much unlimited power. They can appoint a brainless nerd like Nicholson to be Justice Minister and then stack the Senate in their favor so that every bill they introduce gets passed no matter what. The founding fathers didn’t think anybody evil would ever become Prime Minister so their sweeping powers wouldn’t be used for evil. Surprise, founding fathers, welcome to reality. Now the only way we have left to get a fair government is to physically overthrow the current dictatorship. Sadly, Canadians don’t have that kind of balls so we’re all doomed. The Non-progressive Conservatives are way ahead of the Liberals and even Jack Layton is higher on the polls than Ignatieff for PM. In other words, Canada will be under the iron fist of the Conservatives for the rest of our lives. Welcome to China West. All hail Chairman Harper.

  21. Anonymous on

    Ha, Rob was not impressed for being told off by the head lady of the senate for thinking the senate would not do their job properly! I ask how is it consistent with violence and crime and dealing if a person is caught growing five plants and is considered a dealer or part of organized crime yet a medical patient is allowed more than five for personal use?

    What your going to see now is a proliferation of people growing more than 200 hundred plants.
    It is just like putting the local corner store out of business so the big guns can take over.

  22. Anonymous on

    well nicolson can not sign an extradition under the circumstances. if his signature contradicts the evidence in front of him he will be in for a lot of trouble. you already have the tandy statment admitting to political movement attack, you already have disparity in sentence time, you have the other parties coming forth with thousands of signatures and you have blanked out documents. what more would you need to bring on an inquiry into his decision to see if him being a conservative has clouded his judgement? submitting or supporting a bill is entirely different from being given the job of extradition descisions. that sure does involve accountability.
    if nicolson is going where i think he is going with his descision, this will likley show collusion in an unlawful manner. the minister MUST still follow correct process and recognize these things in the decision.
    if nicolson signs off, it must be demanded by the liberals/people media etc that the public see the non blanked out pages, and see that nicolson has acted properly or improperly in his position.
    as far as their pot stance,it just shows their tactics and their ignorance of what a vast majortiy of sensible people would feel is appropriate.
    what they are continuing to do is pull the wool over the peoples eyes by lumping pot in with violent crime.
    this all goes against what the polls show, there is zero evidence that pot growers are the violent people out on the streets making victims of people. where do they even get the idea from that canadians have the spare money to lock up all the canadian growers. it is simply a way to increase the amount of money they can take out of the pockets of tax payers and sent it to their friends etc that are in the business of busting and prosecuting and locking people up. while the people might wish to spend money to try keep the streets safe, busting non violent people for simple cultivation will only amount to millions more wasted that could be spent on other needed things like hospitals and schools.
    mind you, it was the 2002 senate committee that said it was no worse than tobacco or alcohol and should be made legal. so why does it find itself in this bill?
    i find it hard to fathom that they can even openly admit that they would come back once they have adjusted the senate numbers to get their outcome they desire despite so many people in the senate being against the wordings of the bill. it is one thing to say the people want to spend money on being safe, but when you have polls clearly showing that people do not want people locked up for small cannabis offenses, it is obvious that these pot offenses should not be part of c-15. one more thing, there was supposed to be a clause in the min sentencing to review after a certain time frame and see if the mandatories even work. ie if crime etc has gone down.
    it wouldnt surprise me if they end up locking up so many peaceful pot growers that it leaves the market wide open for exactly what they are trying to stop.
    at the end of it all, people will still be demanding pot, because they know its not that harmful. you can not have five million pot smokers without someone growing it. so it becomes a matter of who is going to and whether they are decent people or murderers.

  23. Anonymous on

    WTF assholes.

    Do we not live in a democracy?

    With laws like these, against the wishes of the majority of Canadians,
    would it not be correct to say democracy is a myth?

    I am certainly not proud to be a Canadian with these dictators at the helm.

    Fuck you Nicholson, Harper and all you other trough feeding corporate cock sucking hogs.

    Go fuck yourselves.

  24. persecutedinalberni on

    Honestly folks all you have to do is beleive in me and what I say and do and I will rock the conservatives world I promise.

    Like I keep saying they persecuted me and if you all demand an investigation into what I say I can make it happen.

    Demand that the social workers answer my simple questions like did the police ever suspect me or accuse me of anything?

    The same with the EIC workers,demand I get answers that they will not give me.

    It is all about my wife and family and you beleiving in me and I will see what I can do for you Canada.

    Beleive in me and I can change things,realy I can.

    It is time to send these lucifers on their way is what I think.

  25. Anonymous on

    With his sort of hard line against pot, there is no way this guy Nicholson will be in the least bit swayed by petitions and letters to free Marc – his ass is grass in the extradition game now. We might as well just write him off and while we are at it, forget about overgrowing the government now or in the forseeable – that was one decade long expensive exhausting epic fail- It got nobody nowhere except in trouble, jail or both- and some of us shot dead
    And NO its not being negative to look with my own free eyes and say whats happening, and whats happening is the stoners were just pushed down the concrete stairs on their faces. What next? hide deeper in sub basements like rats?