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article imageFeds accept most, but not all Senate amendments in pot bill

By Karen Graham     Jun 13, 2018 in World
Ottawa - Canada's federal government issued its response to the Senate’s sweeping amendments to the marijuana legalization Bill C-45, accepting most of them but rejecting three amendments, setting the stage for a potential legal battle.
CTV News Canada is reporting on Wednesday the federal government says it agrees with and will accept 26 of the 46 proposed amendments to the legislation, which sets out the parameters for the production, possession, and sale of legal recreational marijuana for Canadians over the age of 18.
However, the government "respectfully disagreed" with 13 amendments that include one that would change the bill to give provinces and territories the power to ban home-grown marijuana. Another amendment the government rejected deals with the sale and distribution of "branded" merchandise.
Other amendments rejected by the government included those dealing with various aspects of the bill, like youth access to marijuana, and THC levels.
To be specific, according to the House's order paper, the changes the government plans to reject include:
1. Affirming the provinces' right to ban home cultivation of marijuana.
2. Banning branded promotional items such as T-shirts and hats that display logos of marijuana producers.
3. Establishing a public registry of all cannabis companies' directors, officers, controlling parent corporations or trusts, and their directors, members, and shareholders.
File photo: The BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and Lounge (Marc Emery Headquarters) in Vancouver  BC.
File photo: The BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and Lounge (Marc Emery Headquarters) in Vancouver, BC.
User: (WT-shared) Osiris at wts wikivoyage
Home-grown marijuana
The House of Commons disagreed with Amendment 3 because "the government has been clear that provinces and territories are able to make additional restrictions on personal cultivation but that it is critically important to permit personal cultivation in order to support the government’s objective of displacing the illegal market."
The problem is that Quebec, Manitoba, and Nunavut all want to ban the home-grown cultivation of cannabis, even if recreational marijuana is legalized by the federal government. All the Senate wants is an affirmation of a province's or territory's right to ban its citizens from growing marijuana in their homes.
It is this amendment that could eventually present a legal challenge in the courts. Back in March, when Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould appeared before a Senate committee, she said the federal government wouldn't stop provinces from banning homegrown pot, but if a citizen decided to take a province or territory to court over the issue, the federal government would have to step in.
"This is federal legislation and we fundamentally support our legislation and it would be incumbent upon us to defend it," she told the committee.
Quebec and Manitoba's provincial ministers put out a joint statement last week, supporting the Senate's amendment - insisting on "respect" for their views by the federal government.
"Ottawa has an opportunity to dispel the confusion surrounding this matter and to prevent Canadians from needless and costly legal challenges by accepting the amendment proposed by the Senate," reads the statement from Quebec's Canadian Relations Minister Jean-Marc Fournier and Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson.
At the 1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in Madison  Wisconsin  Jack Herer and Dana Beal get...
At the 1989 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in Madison, Wisconsin, Jack Herer and Dana Beal get ready for action. The T-shirts would be banned in Canada.
D. Paul Stanford.
Branded merchandise amendment
The Senate voted in favor of banning the distribution of branded "swag" by pot companies, such as T-shirts, hats and phone cases that display a company logo. The amendment against "branded" merchandising was tabled by Conservative Sen. Judith Seidman.
Seidman argued that allowing such merchandise was nothing more than a "loophole" giving cannabis companies a backdoor to advertising their product. She was particularly concerned over this form of advertising's impact on young Canadians.
While some critics argue whether the amendment would even be enforceable, the federal government says the act already includes comprehensive restrictions surrounding promotional items.
The Investor Registry
This amendment was an attempt to have public cannabis companies register their investors with the government, and was meant to keep organized crime out of the cannabis industry. Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan proposed the amendment, concerned that criminals would use off-shore tax havens to profit from a legal industry.
The federal government rejected the amendment, saying "other Senate amendments that the House is accepting would provide the Minister with expanded powers to require security clearances, and because the amendments would present significant operational challenges and privacy concerns."
As it is right now, the package is back in the House of Commons today, where MPs are expected to debate the government’s message before voting to send it over to the Senate. Right now, it depends on how the Senate will react.
If the Senate accepts the government's position on some of the amendments, Bill C-45 could receive Royal Assent by week’s end. Anything other than assent will mean a long, drawn-out period of time before recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada.
More about Canada, Marijuana bill, Amendments, home cultivation, investor registry
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