Friday, November 26, 2010
Senate passes bill with mandatory jail sentence for growing 5 pot plants
By Janice Tibbetts
The Vancouver Sun
The Senate has backed away from a fight with the Conservative government and passed a controversial drug-sentencing bill that would automatically imprison people caught growing five or more marijuana plants.
One year after the upper house watered down proposed legislation by raising the bar to more than 200 plants, a new version of the bill is once again before the Senate and the chamber of sober second thought has decided that the previous amendment would never survive a final vote among MPs.
"It was irrational," conceded Liberal Sen. George Baker. "It wasn't going to fly with the Conservatives, and it wasn't going to fly with the Liberals."
A Senate-Commons tug-of-war over the bill -- to impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes for the first time in Canada -- began more than a year ago, when the Liberals in the upper chamber enraged Justice Minister Rob Nicholson by altering his bill so that anyone caught with six to 200 pot plants would not go to jail.