Canada's Original Think Tank

Third reading of Bill C-45, Cannabis Bill (debate on amendment by Senator Plett)

Third reading of Bill C-45, Cannabis Bill (debate on amendment by Senator Plett)

Third reading of Bill C-45, Cannabis Bill (debate on amendment by Senator Plett)

Hon. Art Eggleton: 

Well, there are a lot of very interesting points being made here. In terms of what social sharing means, I believe it means kids passing around a joint. I think that happens all the time, and it can happen with people who are close in age but where some of them might be over the age of 18 passing on to someone who is 16 — or giving them a joint, not selling them one. You get into sales or you get into something more than 6 grams, which this amendment from Senator Plett suggests would still be an indictable offence. Six grams, more than 5 grams, would still be an indictable offence.

Senator Plett: Or summary conviction.

Senator Eggleton: If you’re getting into something of that quantity, I think you’re getting into trafficking, and I think you just said that, Senator Plett. I think you’re going to get into trafficking. That’s not social sharing. Social sharing is what I just described and it’s what the task force recommended.

Senator Bernard picked this up from the task force. I think social sharing with people close in age is reasonable.

Now, even Senator Plett has left alone the other part of this, where, if you’re at home and the parent is there, it’s no problem. But if the parent is, in effect, out of the room or out of the building, then it’s a problem if an 18-year-old passes to a 16-year-old.

Certainly the government will have to put in a definition of social sharing. But with this amendment coming on the heels of the task force amendment — and that gives a clear understanding of what this is about — I think it’s reasonable to do this. As I said earlier, I don’t think anybody should be criminalized for possession for personal use. Trafficking is a different matter. This would still expose young people.

Young people are not just the people under 18 but people who are 18, 19 or 20. They are still young people and people who can be affected very profoundly in their lives by a conviction. I think the amendment that was adopted by the committee on the proposal of Senator Bernard is a reasonable one to proceed with.

Senator Martin: I have a question for Senator Eggleton.

The Hon. the Speaker pro temporeSenator Eggleton, would you accept a question?

Senator Eggleton: … Yes.

Senator Martin: I didn’t include this in my speech earlier, but I did receive a link to an article today in Global News. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It talks about the concern with the social sharing provision in the federal law because many provinces have adopted their new laws around legalization of marijuana, and social sharing is illegal in those provincial laws.

I was wondering if you’re aware of any consultations about social sharing with the provinces because our law, in effect, will go against the provincial laws that have been passed.

Senator Eggleton: Federal criminal law, I’m afraid, takes precedence. There are some parts of it that are delegated to the provinces, and if the provinces are operating within that framework that’s delegated to them, they’re free to do that, just like when we talked about the four plants. You wanted to abolish having any plants at all, but we ultimately said, “Let’s leave that to the provinces.” That’s one which is delegated.

Offhand, I don’t know whether this one is delegated. I don’t know what consultations there have been on it. But unless it has been delegated to them, it is still a federal responsibility.

The Hon. the Speaker pro temporeSenator Martin, do you have a question?

Senator Martin: I think the problem is that this is an amendment that was adopted. It was not in the original federal law. In the meantime, provinces have enacted their laws, and any sharing of marijuana to minors is illegal in provincial law.

Senator Eggleton: I’m not sure of that.

Senator Martin: Well, it’s in today’s article. I’m wondering if you read it. It’s by Patrick Cain.

Senator Eggleton: I have not read the article, but it doesn’t mean it’s correct. I’m not saying it’s fake news, but I’m not sure of its accuracy. Again, if it’s part of the federal law, then that prevails.