Home Grown pot: Jean-Marc Fournier can rely on the Senate


May 2, 2018 - Growing cannabis at home is a source of controversy in Quebec, as it intends to ban it on its territory. Even dough under Bill C-45 Ottawa seems determined to allow this practice in all provinces, it will find two provinces on its path: Quebec and Manitoba.

To convince Ottawa, the minister responsible for Canadian relations and Canadian Francophonie, Jean-Marc Fournier, can count on an important ally: the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

A unanimous committee

The committee members unanimously endorsed the idea that the provinces and territories have the authority to legislate upon the "possession, cultivation and harvesting of cannabis in determined locations, including the power of prohibition thereon».

Some senators believe that an amendment should be proposed to Bill C-45, a bill intended to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in Canada, to ban home-grown marijuana. Keep in mind that in its current drafting, said Bill would allow the cultivation of up to four pot plants at home.

Confrontation: Trudeau vs the Senate?

If the Senate brings amendments to Bill C-45, it will be sent back to the House of Commons. This could lead to a stand-off between the senators and the Trudeau government. "Ottawa does not have the constitutional power to authorize the production of cannabis at home. This power clearly belongs to the provinces”, said Jean-Marc Fournier last week before the Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

A decision that rests with Quebec

"Under the Criminal Code, the federal government can prohibit actions, but it is not to the Federal government which grants an authorization scheme. It is the provinces, "said Jean-Marc Fournier. The latter went to Ottawa to plead his case, following a statement by Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Two months ago, she stated before the committee, that Ottawa could participate in a court challenge of the Quebec law governing the sale and distribution of cannabis.

Henceforth, Jean-Marc Fournier accused the Trudeau government of helping trivializing cannabis use, particularly among young people, by allowing individuals to grow four marijuana plants at home.

The purpose of this section of Bill C-45 is to short circuit the illegal market. Quebec argues that home production at is not only difficult to control , but that it would allow ease product access, which will tend to trivialize it’s use. Quebec's goal is precisely to avoid this phenomenon.

"That's what led us to choose zero plants," concludes Jean-Marc Fournier. Remember, the Upper Chamber vote to legalize marijuana should be held on June 7, unless the Senate requests amendments to Bill C-45.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Source: La Presse