Senate wants legal consequences for youths who share a joint with a minor once recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Young adults caught sharing joints with minors could face consequences

Senators vote to approve an amendment to Bill C-45 as recreational marijuana becomes legalized

There should be some legal consequences for youths who share a joint with a minor once recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada, the Senate decided Tuesday.

Senators voted 42-31 to approve an amendment to Bill C-45 that would make it a summary or ticketing offence for a young adult to share five grams or less of cannabis with a minor who is no more than two years younger; it would be an indictable offence to share with younger minors or to share more than five grams.

RELATED: Two-thirds of current pot users will switch to legal retailers, survey suggests

They also voted 45-29 to require that any company licensed to grow marijuana must publicly disclose all its shareholders or executive members who are not based in Canada — an amendment aimed at ensuring organized crime doesn’t use offshore tax havens to wind up secretly controlling the recreational marijuana market.

And they approved, by a close vote of 39-36, another amendment that would specify that police who seize cannabis plants don’t have to keep them alive.

That brings to 43 the number of amendments the Senate has so far approved to Bill C-45. And there are likely to be more before the bill is put to final vote in the upper house on Thursday.

The amendment approved Tuesday on social sharing among young people is actually less restrictive than the original draft of the bill, in which the government proposed to prohibit anyone 18 years of age or older from giving any amount of cannabis to a minor.

However, that was softened last week by the Senate’s social affairs committee — with the apparent blessing of the government — in a bid to ensure that an 18 or 19-year-old who passes around a joint at a party with peers aged 16 or 17 doesn’t wind up with a criminal record.

The committee approved an amendment that would have allowed a young adult to share an unlimited amount of cannabis in social settings with minors no more than two years younger. But that proved too lenient for senators Tuesday.

RELATED: Defiant medical marijuana supplier says B.C. city ‘afraid of me’

“Make no mistake, colleagues, it will be abused,” Conservative Sen. Don Plett told the Senate as he moved to tighten the committee’s amendment.

He argued that restricting social sharing to five grams of marijuana is reasonable, amounting to 10 joints. Giving any more than that to a 16-year-old “goes beyond social sharing and gets awfully close to trafficking,” Plett contended.

He pointed out that it is illegal for an adult to provide alcohol to a minor and questioned why it should be any different for cannabis. But, in keeping with the government’s stated goal of not criminalizing young people for cannabis use, he proposed making it a ticketing or summary offence to share small amounts of cannabis with a minor.

“There must be consequences,” Plett said.

Liberal independent Sen. Art Eggleton, the chair of the social affairs committee, said he understands social sharing to mean kids passing around a joint at a party. But he acknowledged that the committee’s amendment didn’t define the concept — a void that proved problematic for a number of senators Tuesday.

“To me, the simplest way of solving this is to actually have a definition of social sharing in the legislation,” said independent Sen. Frances Lankin.

Tuesday’s amendments are on top of the 40 amendments senators approved last week in accepting the report of the Senate’s social affairs committee. The most significant of those would allow provincial and territorial governments to prohibit the home cultivation of marijuana plants, if they so choose, whereas the bill, as originally drafted, would allow up to four plants per dwelling.

In addition, senators last week approved another amendment that would tighten already stringent advertising restrictions on cannabis companies, preventing them from promoting their brands on so-called swag, such as T-shirts and ball caps.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Former junior Cowichan Piggy Doug Fraser joins professional ranks

Fraser grew up in Ladysmith and played junior and senior rugby with Cowichan

Ladysmith Camera Club and Ladysmith and District Credit Union combine forces for calendar

Not one, but two versions produced featuring local photographers and local scenes

Manly will give it another go with federal Green Party

Paul Manly to be acclaimed as party’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate

VIDEO: Mattress fire at Cowichan Hospital under investigation

The Cowichan District Hospital was locked down on Tuesday afternoon due to… Continue reading

Transport truck driver identified as one victim in double fatal head-on crash

Clifford Bishop, 54, a resident of Cassidy, had been a truck driver since he was 18

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Prolific offender arrested in “dynamic takedown” in Crofton

A 30-year-old Vancouver-area man faces at least six charges after what police… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

North Cowichan will host national rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Tom Lavin and the Powder Blues Band among acts to perform at Comox Valley’s Winterfest

Participating hotels offering half-price “ski & stay” packages

Most Read