Canada: Mandatory Minimum Bill for Marijuana Growing Dies Sudden Death When Prime Minister Shuts Down Parliament

In a political maneuver designed to shield his embattled Conservative government from criticism during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper on December 30th "prorogued," or shut down, Parliament until a new session begins in March. The move kills all pending legislation, including a Tory "tough on crime" bill, C-15, that included mandatory minimum nine-month prison sentences for growing as much as a single marijuana plant.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/c15videos.jpg
Proroguing parliament is not a routine move, but this is the second time Harper has done it in a year. Last December, he did it to head off a looming vote of no-confidence, with a coalition of New Democrats, Liberals, and Bloc Quebecois looking to replace his Conservative government. Now, he says he is doing it to introduce a new budget, but the maneuver also kills all parliamentary committees, including one looking into allegations Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan turned detainees over to Afghan authorities who abused them. That inquiry has raised embarrassing questions about Canada's policies in Afghanistan.

To the relief of drug reform advocates and Canada's cannabis culture, the move kills a bill that was very harsh and very near to passage. Under the provisions of C-15 as passed by the House, people growing between one and 200 marijuana plants faced a minimum of six months if the "offense is committed for the purpose of trafficking." That would rise to nine months if it were a rental property, if children were endangered, or if the grow presented a public safety threat, i.e. was stealing electricity.

The bill mandated a one-year minimum for between 201 and 500 plants or for producing hashish and two years for more than 500 plants. It also had one-year minimums for importing or exporting marijuana and for trafficking more than three kilograms if it was for the benefit of "organized crime," there was threat or use of violence or weapons, or if the offender had a serious previous drug offense. The trafficking minimum jumped to two years if it occurred in a prison, if the trafficking was to a minor, or if it was "in or near a school, in or near an area normally frequented by youth or in the presence of youth."

The bill had been amended earlier this month by the Senate Constitutional Affairs and Legal Committee to remove the mandatory minimum provisions for under 201 plants, but only if the grows were not in residential areas and owned by the grower. That meant anyone growing in a residential neighborhood or in a rental property still faced a nine-month minimum, limiting relief to rural home-owners.

The bill awaited only a final vote in the Senate. Now, Harper has sacrificed it on the altar of his political calculations. But like a vampire, C-15 is likely to rise from the grave. It has been a central plank in Harper's appeals to his law-and-order constituencies, and his government is almost certain to reintroduce it when the new session begins in March, or after he calls snap elections, which the Conservatives seem well-positioned to win as their main rivals, the Liberals, flounder.

Don't put away those wooden stakes just yet.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Some stakes to sharpen

1. Child endangerment

Not having seen the argumentation for such a provision, my take on it is, it's a sneaky censorship of every child's right to know the truth about the origin of "the continent's no.1 money crop". A child learning or knowing anything about cannabis is deemed an endangerment.

2. Phrases like 'drug reform" and "Canada's cannabis culture" are unfortunate.

a. DON'T yield to pro-tobackgo verbiage habits like referring to cannabis as "drug" or "the drug" etc. Cannabis is an herb, or as prepared (presifted) for single tokes, a vaporizable HERBAL SUPPLEMENT.

2. All respect for heroic good-hearted Emery, linking with "culture" is a mistake. Don"t Let Them Cultch You! Cannabis has nothing to do with cult or indolent admiration of idols. Cannabis is there to augment and instigate efflorescences of your already maturing work ethic, if you have one, through CREATIVE PARANOIA and LEAP = Long-term Episodic Associative Perfrormance Memory. (Researchers needed to provide peer-reviewed publication of work in support of the latter concepts so they can get past a handful of vengeful editors and make it into Wikipedia articles.)

YouTube: Bill C-15 Senate Hearing videos

Bill C-15 = Mandatory Minimum prison sentences for low-level drug offenses, such as growing 1 cannabis plant, for the purpose of purpose of trafficking, in a rental property. Never before in Canadian history have there been MMS for drug crimes.

YouTube: Bill C-15 Senate Hearing videos
(Oct 8 - Dec 3, 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/user/CannabisFactsForCdns

*** Top recommended witness testimony from the Bill C-15 Senate Committee: ***

1) David Bratzer - an active duty police officer in Victoria, BC, and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. http://LEAP.cc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=173LZbyWCOU
---

2) Eugene Oscapella - Ottawa lawyer and founder of Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, http://CFDP.ca
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnKccUTyE_M
---

3) Kirk Tousaw - Lawyer and Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1269_doTXQk
---

4) Craig Jones - Exec Dir., John Howard Society
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0mQ8m-0Xqg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bill C-15 Senate Committee amendments explained
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/BillC15explained.html

More info about Bill C-15:
http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/mandatoryminimums.html

-FrankD

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