I think the government has done a pretty fair job on the cannabis legalization bill

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, I recognize that for both ministers this is a very difficult bill. Overall, I certainly support Bill C-45. In general, it strikes the right balance. However, I am disappointed that some of the Senate amendments have been rejected, and I wonder if the minister would reconsider.

I tried similar amendments when the bill was before committee. The ones I could generally lump together are clause 9, pages 10 and 11; and another one further in, clause 51, pages 29 to 31, dealing with what we might characterize as social sharing. I am very concerned that young people will not realize that if they are 18 years old and their best friend is 17 years, 11 months, and two weeks old, passing a joint to this friend in a social setting would constitute distribution and could even involve jail time.

I think we ought to look at these amendments that came from the Senate. Again, I think that the government has done a pretty fair job here. I have a lot of concern on regulations, which I will raise later. I am very concerned to make sure that legal growing outdoors of organic cannabis would be permitted. However, for now, looking at these amendments, I wonder if there might be some reconsideration around this particular area of concern.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor – Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, as I have indicated earlier, very clearly, the Senate has certainly been studying this proposed legislation for the past seven months. We absolutely appreciate the work that it has done. We have given careful consideration to all of the amendments that the Senate has brought forward, and after discussions with my colleagues, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety, as well as many cabinet colleagues, and the parliamentary secretary, we have made the decision to accept some amendments and some we have decided to oppose.

When it comes to the specific amendment that my friend and colleague has mentioned, we really felt that it was counterintuitive with respect to the sharing aspect at such a close age. It is an area that we have given close consideration to, but at this point, our government is not prepared to accept that amendment.