Canada: Tories Reintroduce Mandatory Minimum Marijuana Bill

Canada's Conservative government this week reintroduced a controversial bill, now called S-10, that would impose mandatory minimum prison sentences on people who grew as few as six marijuana plants or produced any amount of hashish. The bill is part of a broader Conservative "tough on crime" agenda being reintroduced after Prime Minister Stephen Harper suddenly ended the last session of Parliament last winter.

Last year, the bill, then known as C-15, passed the lower house, but had been amended by the Senate to raise the floor for mandatory minimum sentences to 201 plants and exempt aboriginal people from the mandatory minimums. That didn't set well with the Harper government, which has since appointed enough Conservatives to the Senate to give the party a majority as well as the House of Commons. It now plans to shove through its original, hard-line bill.

"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," Justice Minister Rob 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."

The bill comes even as for the last two years, a majority of Canadians have voiced support for legalizing marijuana. In previous incarnations, the bill excited furious opposition, not only from pot aficionados, but also among researchers, drug policy groups, public health and harm reduction groups, and within Parliament itself.

"The bill is a disaster for Canada," said activist Jacob Hunter of Why Prohibition, which is organizing opposition. "S-10 will imprison thousands of Canadians for victimless crimes, send people to jail for growing 6 marijuana plants, making any hashish or baked goods, and a host of other offenses," he said.

"There is no evidence that S-10 will work," Hunter said. "Indeed, every scientific study says it will fail. We know that prohibition has never worked, and we know that mandatory minimum sentences only increase the violence in our society."

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McD's picture

Awe

Incredible!

How can they be doing this?

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