OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government is accepting most but not all of the Senate amendments to its bill to legalize marijuana.
In a response unveiled overnight, the federal liberals are respectfully disagreeing with 13 amendments to the bill, including the Senate proposal to allow provinces to ban home cultivation of cannabis.
The upper chamber has proposed about 40 amendments to the legislation.
The feds want to allow people to grow up to four plants at home but Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut want the number to be zero.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says cannabis should be treated like other vices.
“Canadians are allowed to make beer at home or wine, and some can even grow tobacco.”
She indicates there is no wiggle room on these points.
“We’ve looked at all the elements that the Senate has brought forward, and our position, we’ve made it very clear.”
Since some amendments have been rejected, the government response will have to be debated and voted on in the house before being sent back to the Senate. That could take a few days.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stresses the need to pass the legislation quickly.
“The current system doesn’t work. It doesn’t protect our kids, what we actually have, it doesn’t prevent organized crime from making billions of dollars in profits.”
He’s calling on Conservatives to stop obstructing the bill, saying they’ve done so throughout the whole process. “To slow this down, to infere with the rule of the house.”
Meantime, Senate Conservative Leader Larry Smith is one of many who haven’t decided yet if they will accept the will of the house or try to send it back again to insist on the changes.
“We’re going to have a serious discussion in terms of ‘what do we want to do?'”
The bill doesn’t officially pass until both houses agree on a final wording, but the government is confident legalization will take effect by the end of summer.