CANNABIS CULTURE – Canadian Senators are gathered in Ottawa to determine the fate of the Liberal Government’s cannabis legalization strategy (Bill C-45). Senators from the Conservative Party of Canada, occupying 33 of 105 seats, have declared they will try to defeat the bill.
This is cause for alarm, as the Senate, for the first time in Canadian history, is compromised of more independent Senators than politically affiliated members. The Conservative faction, have hinged their argument against legalization on cherry-picked quasi-science talking points organized by American anti-cannabis think-tank SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) to sway the independent Senators to their way of thinking. The SAM authored document can be found here.
Conservative Leader of the Opposition, Senator Larry Smith, has said that they will be seeking amendments as follows:
“The Senate Conservative Caucus will be looking at making recommendations on various legislative voids, including: driving under the influence; public consumption; home grow; outdoor grow; detection of high concentration of marijuana; border crossing; lack of education campaigns; the negative impact of marijuana especially for youth under the age 25 and other major regulatory gaps. We believe possible amendments would bring greater protection to what is most important – the health and public safety of Canadian families and neighborhoods.”
You’ll notice, those on the conservative side continue to use the language of marijuana. This language is an important indicator of perspective as the “evidence” in the SAM manifesto is a recycling of debunked reefer madness logic. In SAM’s view, cannabis poses a “threat to public health” despite being unable to reference or cite ANY instances of death associated with cannabis use (with the slight exception of an uncited teen suicide statistic that fails to consider variables like alcohol, poverty or other social pressures).
Unfortunately, this rhetoric maintains a foothold amongst people who have been fed lies about cannabis for their entire life. Many of these people, on every side of the aisle, occupy Senatorial seats. So the arguments presented by SAM, as flawed as they are, could sway the vote of the under-informed.
The powerful lobbying forces of the provinces and law enforcement have their own axes to grind. These combined bureaucratic juggernauts are reeling from the potential budgetary losses and bureaucratic disarray true legalization would bring. Keep in mind, this is even after Trudeau declared more than a quarter-billion dollars to police the new regulations (how giving more money to police for enforcement equates to legalization is anybody’s guess at this point). Police have been certain to demand additional funding to enforce the new rules of “legalization” and to train police officers to use cannabis detection equipment that has been proven inaccurate, ineffective and impeachable, despite the fact government has declared their intention to charge people criminally for failing tests on such equipment.
Again, giving more money to the police to enforce the rules of “legalization” is a far cry from the picture that was painted during the previous federal election campaign.
We’ve been told this is the year cannabis would be legalized. In the 2015 election, we were told it was time to choose hope over fear. And in response, many of us voted for the Liberals. In response, the Liberals have re-ignited the flames of reefer madness, pushing pseudo-science and debunked myths about cannabis in an attempt to grab the reigns of supply, and reap the profits of legal production.
And still, this incremental move towards legal cannabis is a critical moment in the end of prohibition worldwide.
Many within the cannabis movement have taken this step on the march to a legal future for granted.
In theory, The Senate, is often billed as “sober second thought” for parliamentarians formulating legislation in Canada, in practice, a Senate seat is often used as a ceremonial “rubber stamp” position. What this means is, often the appointed Senators are called on to simply approve bills as formulated by the elected representatives of the House of Commons. There is little to no review of the contents within the laws.
This isn’t one of those times.
Voids in the Liberal’s legalization strategy are wide and evident. The bill encourages the fears of those who have never used, or seen the miracles of cannabis firsthand.
This has left the bill vulnerable to being stuck down.
The proposed law would put production and distribution of cannabis in the hands of well connected oligarchs plus arm police with brutal new penalties for regulatory infractions. One of these standards, possession by another name “public intoxication” can include up to a $5000 fine and 3 months in jail for a first offence.
Obviously, Bill C-45 contains tragic failures, be they through self-interest, mania or debunked thinking and yet the consequences of a legal cannabis bill being struck down on a global stage would be far more devastating. The bill, once passed can be altered to more palatable forms, but the bill struck down would set the march to legal cannabis back years, if not decades.
While, we here at Cannabis Culture HeadQuarters are well aware of the deplorable nanny state monolith that is Bill C-45, a halt to the momentum of legalisation in Canada would signal a tragic blow for the movement worldwide.
And while the battle-lines continue to shift, the approval of a legal cannabis framework in Canada would signal a watershed change in the rest of the world.
This story continues to develop.
Follow Cannabis Culture Magazine on-line and on social media to get the latest. Pot Tv will continue to feature high-profile influencers as this debate rages on.
YOU CAN GET INVOLVED. While you don’t vote for your Senator, they are still your representative. Lobby directly to your Senator (you can find their contact info here), write a letter to the local paper, organize a demonstration, throw a bake sale…whatever you are best at, use that skill to inform a better future. While it may seem the march to legalization is a foregone conclusion, NOW more than ever, is the time we need to act.