So how many pot plants can you have when the new law legalizing marijuana, sorry cannabis, takes effect?
Can you have two plants, four plants, more plants? Does it matter if the plants are budding or flowering?
That last part is a question that Senator Denise Batters wanted to know the answer to. Batters, a lawyer and former top aide to a provincial justice minister had read the legislation and found it didn’t quite make sense.
So at the Senate Legal Affairs Committee, Senator Batters asked the representatives from Public Safety and the RCMP about some confusion in the law which at Section 8.1 (e) states that it is illegal, “for an individual to possess more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering.”
Batters had a simple question, “Does that mean that you could potentially possess more than four plants if they are budding or flowering?”
After a long pause, officials say they can’t answer the question.
Isn’t it a little shocking that just before we are about to legalize pot, the law is so badly written that no one will know what it means?
If you watch the whole video you can see officials try and claim that the law is clear by pointing to other sections of the law. So I looked those sections up and it made no sense to me, just looked like badly written law.
Criminal defence lawyer Solomon Friedman listened to this exchange and told me that Batters was correct in thinking the law is a mess as it is written.
“We are months away from having marijuana at least ostensibly legalized in some form and the architects of that bill cannot tell the Senate committee what is legal and what is illegal,” Friedman said.
Friedman said the new pot laws don’t actually legalize marijuana, they criminalize it and regulate it in different ways. In fact Friedman says, the new bill will create more marijuana offences than the current law has.
“When even the government itself doesn’t know, because their laws are such a hot mess of confusion,” Friedman said, “how on earth is it going to be enforceable?”
Friedman is predicting more charges not less under this new law.