Last Tuesday, a day marked by incredible legislative victories in Washington and Colorado, a troubling new law went into effect in Canada. The omnibus crime bill known as Bill C-10 includes provisions that mandate harsher prison terms and violation thresholds for cannabis growers and distributors. While some of C-10’s provisions aim at disrupting organized crime and reducing drug trafficking near schools, the omnibus package also includes stiff new penalties that heighten risks for casual growers and medical dispensaries. The bill includes jail time for production of 6-200 marijuana plants and increases maximum sentences to 14 years.
BC MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) and former West Vancouver police chief, Kash Heed calls the bill’s provisions on marijuana “ridiculous.” “We will never arrest our way out of this particular problem,” Heed said in an interview. “Marijuana prohibition has not worked in Canada for many years, and it will not work in Canada.”
Bill C-10 Is yet another sign that Ottawa, seat of Canada’s federal government, and conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, have little interest in taking the appropriate steps to weed out destructive and culturally backwards provisions in Canada’s crime and drug laws.