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

The Postmen collect 45 boxes of supplies for wildfire relief

Prince Rupert donations of food, water and toilet paper to be delivered to Burns Lake first

Coastal police unit operating with half its members

RCMP report to Port Edward council reveals low numbers on the coastal force

Sound of Prince Rupert’s cherry trees to be played around the world

Salvaged wood from chopped sakura trees is being crafted into taiko drum sticks

In Our Opinion: How to lose an ammonia tank— ask the city

How did a 68kg cylinder of ammonia remain unseen after multiple audits and assessments

Donation drop off tonight for B.C. wildfire victims

The Postmen have set up a three-day depot at the Moose Hall in Prince Rupert for disaster relief

This Week Podcast – Episode 98

From the Prince Rupert Golf Club, catch up on sports, entertainment and news highlights

The Northern View 2018 Readers Choice

Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Sept. 7

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read