The current proposed legislation to legalize marijuana in Canada, Bill C-45, is inadequate because it does not offer enough protections for youth, according to Conservative senator Denise Batters.
Batters said on Thursday that she has fielded calls and has spoken to Saskatchewan residents who have expressed concerns about the possibility of the drug’s legalization.
“I’ve been hearing from people from across the province and particularly in [federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s] riding for the last two years that they do not want marijuana legalized,” Batters said, adding people have said they think marijuana is being decriminalized, not legalized.
Batters is one of the senate voters who opposed the bill on Thursday, when it passed its second reading by a vote of 44-29.
Some of the issues Batters has expressed concern about include the federal legal age of possession, 18, being too low, and that minors (12 to 17) would essentially be able to share or possess marijuana, as long as they were in possession of five grams or less, without facing legal consequences.
As far as protecting youth and curbing the black market for marijuana, Batters doesn’t think legalization will prevent people from buying illegally.
“We just had public safety officials admit in our legal committee [on Thursday] that for children under 18, they will continue to be buying in some fashion illegally, either by people who are entitled to have it … but mostly through black market sales,” Batters said.
“The black market will not end.”