While the federal government has accepted most of the Senate’s amendments to the Cannabis Act, key changes such as giving provinces the authority to ban home cultivation and prohibiting promotional swag from cannabis companies were rejected.
Home cultivation for all provinces and territories
The House of Commons rejected the Senate’s bid to allow provinces to ban home cultivation saying “it is critically important to permit personal cultivation in order to support the government’s objective of displacing the illegal market”.
Earlier today, PM Justin Trudeau said, “One of the strong recommendations by experts was that we ensure personal cultivation of four plants at home”.
This rejection would mainly affect Manitoba and Quebec, which would prohibit home cultivation if allowed to do so.
As federal health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said, “Canadians can grow their own tobacco and make their own beer and wine at home…. People can already grow cannabis for medical purposes. We think it is logical for the proposed legislation to be consistent when it comes to recreational cannabis”.
She added that provinces and territories already have the right to bring down the number to one plant.
Also rejected were the ban on cannabis branded swag and creating a cannabis registry
The House of Commons rejected Conservative Sen. Judith Seidman’s amendment that would have banned cannabis companies from having branded merchandise, saying that the Cannabis Act “already includes comprehensive restrictions on promotion”.
The federal government also rejected a proposal by Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan that would have created a registry of anyone involved in cannabis companies, including shareholders, because it would present “significant operational challenges and privacy concerns”. The amendment was meant to keep organized crime out of the cannabis industry, but the government noted that some of the other amendments that were being accepted would provide expanded powers to require security clearances.
Once MP’s debate and vote on the bill, it will be sent back to the Upper House where the Senate will have to decide whether to accept the bill as presented by the House of Commons.
If the Senate accepts the bill, the Cannabis Act could become law as early as the end of the week. If not, we will continue to see the bill move back and forth between the Senate and House of Commons, which would risk seriously delaying legalization.
“It has been months that Andrew Scheer the Conservative leader has been telling his Senate caucus, the Senators that he still controls, to play games, to slow this down and to interfere with the will of the House,” Trudeau said, “It’s time that he stopped using his Senators this way.”