Homegrown plants and cannabis T-shirts are no mountains to die on
The need for a relatively clean rollout of legalized recreational marijuana — a signature promise of Trudeau, one that can restore his progressive bona fides and one which would most definitely buoy a government that is finding danger at every turn.
Predictably, the clean roll out kept hitting speed bumps. At one time, July 1 was going to be pot legalization day. Now, it is U.S. retaliatory tariffs day.
The Senate considered the cannabis bill for seven months. Five committees heard from more than 200 witnesses.
It was a level of diligence that bordered on obstructionism, or at least an attempt to keep punting legalization closer to an election year where inevitable hiccups could be highlighted.
Trudeau made just such a charge this week, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, citing his party’s minority in the Senate, said the pace of approval in the Upper House was Trudeau’s responsibility.
Regardless, it was Scheer’s Conservatives who led the Senate opposition and were hammering away at it in the Commons question period Thursday.
The government will now send the bill back to the Senate, after rejecting most of the Upper Chamber’s 46 amendments.
There, senators should take a bow, congratulate themselves for their great work and resist any impulse to continue a fight over a promised piece of legislation from a democratically elected majority government.
Whether the provinces are claiming four (or fewer) homegrown pot plants constitute a danger to children, abuses their right to set their own regulations or put an undue burden on law enforcement, this can hardly be an issue to shake the country.
When government statistics say there were at least 5,869 opioid-related deaths in this country between January 2016 and September, 2017, the idea of cops using resources to count pot plants in Winnipeg condos is absurd.
As we move toward legalization, the government should be pushed on issues more substantive than Senate concerns with indoor plants or T-shirts with cannabis leaves on them.
One of those issues was laid out in the Commons by Marilyn Gladu, who stepped away from Conservative fear-mongering to explain the situation in her border riding of Sarnia-Lambton.
Without assurances from U.S. Homeland Security, legalized cannabis is taking us to a thickened American border and possible tragic consequences for uninformed pot smokers.
Cannabis residue or even the odour of cannabis is enough for border agents to send Canadians to secondary screening. Possession of cannabis could get you a lifetime ban from the U.S.
Gladu says U.S. border agents have told her they will not hire more screeners, so some searches will simply be done in the crossing lanes and they are anticipating wait times to increase 300 per cent. (Continued: Toronto Star)