Canadian Senate Committee Passes Bill C-15

By chillinwill · Dec 3, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    The Senate Committee studying C-15, a bill that would bring mandatory minimum prison sentences for marijuana to Canada, has given its approval with minor amendments. The bill now proceeds to the Senate for a final vote.

    C-15 has been passed by the Senate Committee with minor amendments.

    It now proceeds to the Senate for a final vote. After that, the bill only requires a signature by the Governor General to become law.

    This unfortunately means we will be unable to delay C-15 any further, and short of rejection by the Senate (highly unlikely), we will face passage of this bill before, or shortly after, the Winter break.

    The amendments are as follows:
    The Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs committee today voted to remove under 201 plants from C-15's mandatory minimum sentencing provisions, so long as the production occurs outside of residential areas and in properties owned by the grower.

    Let me be clear:

    If you produce 1 plant in a residential neighbourhood, C-15 still prescribes a 9 month sentence.
    If you produce 1 plant in a rented property, C-15 still prescribes a 9 month sentence.
    If you produce 1 plant in a house that you own, C-15 still prescribes a 9 month sentence.

    If you produce 200 plants on a farm that you own, C-15 does not apply.

    Unfortunately, the Committee was missing the two most prominent critics of C-15 during the clause-by-clause debate today, and were unable to propose ammendments to remove 1-201 plants in residential or rented properties.

    This was a victory today, but a small one, that primarily effects rural areas, leaving urban areas under the thumb of these ridiculous mandatory minimum sentences.

    We NEED to organize more people to stop bills like this in the future! Please, contact your friends, family members, coworkers, everyone you know who believes in ending this horrific war on drugs and get them registered on The only way to move forward is together, and the only way to defeat this drug war, is with everyone.

    Jacob Hunter
    December 3, 2009
    Cannabis Culture

    Share This Article


  1. SullyGuy
    Goddamnit Harper you bland sonofabitch!

    Soon enough Canadians will be moving south for less restrictive drug laws...
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    depressing that things have swung this far the other way. But the turtles aardvark can't help but feel that the large scale industrilization of marijuana, especially in BC, helped fuel this. He does not think anyone can argue that the situation there in the 90's, mass producing largely for the US market, helped create the organized gangs that then spread to large scale methamphetamine/heroin and "ecstasy"/BZP production and smuggling.

    Still- there was certainly better ways available to deal with things.
  3. bLuE
    this law is simply going to make a larger underground market. more large scale grow operations, less people just growing their own and keeping out of the black market. another stupid move made in favor of the illegal drug trade. when will they learn?
  4. Wavvv
    This law puts out of business small time growers, letting organized crime step in and start growing mostly themselves!
    IMHO, Harper needs to come down to SWIM's house and smoke a doobie. Release a bit of tension from his clenched fists and that shriveled nutsack of his.
  5. bLuE
    he looks like a wolf, with those eyes. fucking creepy. he must be some-kind of government experiment.
  6. Wavvv
    VERY true :p

    Just read in the paper this morning that pressure is being put on the Liberal party to pressure the Senate to take out the amendment made to the bill. Don't give in to conservative propaganda Mr. Ignatieff! :mad:
  7. NeuroChi
    There is a lot of hype about this bill, because the writers for Cannabis Culture have no idea what they're talking about.

    Attached is a chart which a friend of mine received along with a letter from one of the Senators. It outlines the new mandatory minimum sentences which come into effect if the crime is committed if one of the Aggravating Factors are present as well.

    I e-mailed every single senator in regards to Bill C-15. The Special Assistant for one of the senators replied in a two page letter describing the changes Bill C-15 will make in regards to drug policies in Canada. Following are some ket points.

    Bill C-15:

    • does not make any changes in regards to possession for personal use
    • does not make any changes in regards to medical marijuana
    • targets serious drug crime involving violence, weapons, targeting youth, and organized crime
    • targets production of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking
  8. Terrapinzflyer
    How many marijuana plants make a grow-op? Vancouver police speak out
    Senate changes to crime bill include removal of mandatory minimum sentences for those possessing 200 or fewer plants

    On the eve of a looming Senate vote on a series of controversial amendments to Bill C-15, which targets drug offenders by creating mandatory minimum sentences, a major police force has weighed into the fray.

    The Senate amendments include the removal of a six-month mandatory minimum for offenders caught with 200 or fewer marijuana plants, as well as the exemption of aboriginal offenders from minimums.

    It was the 200-and-under exemption that has raised the ire of the Vancouver Police Department. The force released a statement Tuesday afternoon, in advance of a Senate vote scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, criticizing the proposal that a smaller number of plants would be exempt from mandatory minimums.

    Inspector Brad Desmarais, leader of the VPD's anti-gang and drug section, said the VPD “cannot support that amendment” and is anticipating a proliferation of grow-ops specifically designed to hold 200 or fewer plants so as to avoid a mandatory minimum.

    Grow-operations are dangerous, regardless of their size, he said.

    “It doesn't matter if there is a wiring malfunction in a 200 plant grow or in a 2,000 plant grow – houses still burn down, people could die and property will be destroyed. The only difference is there will be more [albeit smaller] grows,” Insp. Desmarais said in his statement.

    The VPD statement echoed the sentiment of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who has said he is “very disappointed” with the changes. Speaking to local press, Manitoba's attorney general has also come out against the Senate changes.

    But Senator Joan Fraser, chair of the committee that passed the amendments to Bill C-15 last Thursday, dismissed the VPD statement. The removal of a mandatory minimum is not akin to the decriminalization of holding that amount of plants, she said. Rather, it's meant to prevent the system from unduly sweeping up small-time traffickers or people who grow marijuana, albeit illegally, for personal use.

    A longer mandatory minimum of nine months would still apply to anyone caught with between five and 200 plants if one of four aggravating factors – such as endangering the health of a child or causing a public safety hazard, as suggested by Insp. Desmarais' vision of a grow-op fire – are met.

    “The removal of the mandatory minimum does not mean it suddenly becomes legal to grow 199, or indeed five, marijuana plants. It's still an offence, and judges would still be required, if the offence is proved, to apply an appropriate sentence,” Ms. Fraser said in an interview. “I really do believe that it's quite wrong to suggest that we're letting people get away with criminal activity here.”

    The bill, which amends the existing Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, introduces a number of minimums and is meant for “serious drug offences.” Ms. Fraser, who is among the Liberals forming a majority in the Senate, said the bill, introduced by the governing Conservatives, wasn't meant to create mandatory jail-time for minor offences.

    Even if there are no aggravating factors, judges will still be free to determine a sentence to anyone caught with 200 or fewer plants.

    The House of Commons has already passed Bill C-15. The new amendments, if approved Wednesday, would then go back to the Commons for approval. If the House refused the Senate's suggestions, precedent suggests the appointed senators would then approve the bill as the House wished, though the Senate is constitutionally permitted to dig in its heels on their amendments.

    Among the other changes are an exemption for aboriginals from the minimums, as well as a tweak requiring a mandatory minimum of one year in the case of a person who has had a previous drug conviction within the past decade that led to jail time of at least one year.

    It also added a second review of the mandatory minimums, which are a controversial tool. While the initial House bill called for a review and cost-benefit analysis of minimums within the first two years of the bill's passage, the Senate's amendments call for a second review to take place within five years.

    The Senate amendments also say the courts need not impose the mandatory minimum if another sanction is “reasonable” and available, or if the mandatory minimum would be “excessively harsh because of the offender's circumstances.”

    The changes came after the Senate committee heard testimony from several people, including Mr. Nicholson.

    Josh Wingrove
    Globe and Mail Update
    Published on Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009 11:41PM EST
  9. Motorhead
    Is Liberal caucus discipline going to pot?

    [imgl=black][/imgl]George Baker is a Liberal Senator from Newfoundland blessed with the gift of oratory. Mischievous but serious about the work he does, Senator Baker is making life difficult for his leader, Michael Ignatieff. He is pushing amendments to a Conservative tough-on-crime bill aimed at drug traffickers.

    Elected Liberals support the bill. Indeed, it passed through the House of Commons but its ride through the Senate chamber has not been as smooth. And that is because of Liberal senators, namely Mr. Baker.

    The Senate is to vote on this legislation – Bill C-15 – later this afternoon; it is not clear how it will go although the Liberals do have a slight majority right now.

    Senator Baker’s issue is with the mandatory minimum sentences in the original bill. He argued yesterday in a speech in the Red Chamber that they “take the discretion away from the judge in extreme cases. … We should not take away the discretion from the judge and place it in the hands of the Crown prosecutor.”

    He also used Barack Obama’s reminiscences of his past drug use to back up his point, suggesting that the U.S. President, as a university student, could have landed himself in jail with mandatory minimum sentences.

    Reading passages from President Obama’s biography, Senator Baker had to explain to his colleagues that “blow” meant cocaine and “reefer” meant marijuana and noted that the author now resides in the White House.

    “It makes one wonder,” he said. And it makes one wonder where this could leave Mr. Ignatieff if the amendments to remove the mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of growing fewer than 200 marijuana plants pass.

    Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has said the Liberal Leader “should lean” on his Senators to pass the original bill.

    But you can’t whip these Senators. Again, Mr. Ignatieff’s hold on his caucus will be in question.

    Jane Taber, Globe and Mail
    Dec. 09, 2009
  10. Motorhead
    Senate votes to remove mandatory minimum sentences from Tory pot law

    OTTAWA – The Senate has voted in favour of changing a Conservative crime bill that would have imposed a mandatory six-month minimum sentence on people convicted of growing as few as five pot plants.

    By a vote of 49-44, the Liberal-dominated upper chamber agreed to amend Bill C-15 to give judges greater discretion in sentencing convictions for growing between five and 200 plants.

    The amendments also provide aboriginal convicts with an exemption from the minimum sentences, require judges to explain why they are not imposing the suggested minimums, and add in a cost-benefit review of how the legislation is working after five years.

    However, mandatory minimum sentences of nine months still remain in place if there are aggravating factors to the marijuana grow-op, such as endangering the health of a child or creating a public safety hazard.

    The Conservative government has sharply criticized the Senate for tinkering with legislation that has already been passed by the elected House of Commons.

    It is not clear what will become of the changes when the amended bill is sent back to the Commons, where it must again be ratified before it can become law.
    Dec. 09, 2009
  11. NeuroChi
    It's not their position to criticize the decision of the Senate, which is in place to make sure the House doesn't fuck anything up. :confused:
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!