Central Nova MP Sen Fraser urged the Senate not to cave in to Conservative efforts to scuttle marijuana legalization at the very last minute.
He spoke as three Conservative senators met with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions – known for his hardline views on marijuana – for talks on legalization north of the border last week. Senators Denise Batters, Claude Carignan and Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu are similarly opposed to legal weed.
“I would hope they don’t take this opportunity to scuttle a well-thought out piece of legislation that will improve public health and safety outcomes and create opportunities for economic growth,” said Fraser in New Glasgow Friday.
Conservative senators have previously threatened to block passage of Bill C-45, the federal Liberals’ plan to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana.
Many Conservative senators were appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, also a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization.
However, the Senate passed the first and second reading of C-45, as the Conservatives are outnumbered by both Liberal and independent senators. Fraser said the bill passed second reading by 15 votes.
“I would hope that the Senate does not use its power to block the will of the democratically elected majority [of] parliamentarians in the House of Commons,” Fraser told The News.
The Americans have warned that anyone who admits to past marijuana use may be banned from entering the US. Neither Canadians nor Americans will be allowed to bring marijuana across the border once the drug is legalized in Canada.
American officials have voiced concerns that legal weed will result in longer border line-ups and more Canadians being subjected to secondary inspections and searches by US border agents.
The Conservative senators who met Sessions asked if the US Customs and Border Patrol will change the questions asked by agents to visitors and if any Canadian who admits marijuana use will still be let in.
“I think that the general public should be watching closely to whatever country they travel to and what rules of admittance they may have,” said Fraser.
While nine US states have legalized recreational marijuana, the drug remains illegal at a federal level and will likely remain so under the Republican administration of Donald Trump.
Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. They were followed by Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, California, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts, plus the District of Columbia.
Most other states have legalized medical marijuana in some form, although some of these have limited the active THC content that causes the “high” in users.
A few states have decriminalized marijuana without legalizing it.