Over the last few days, federal members of parliament have been busy debating the pros and cons of Bill C-45, or the Cannabis Act, during a second reading in the House of Commons.
As expected, there has been much emphasis on the tired and repetitive rhetoric of ‘keeping cannabis out of the hands of children.’
But nothing seems to tick off members with this concern as much the four-plant rule, which will allow Canadians to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes.
Conservative politicians have been having a field day with the proposition, predicting that children whose parents grow marijuana will either become poisoned by eating the plant (laughable) or that they’ll become ‘drug mules’.
Unfortunately, many of the politicians debating this bill have proven by their statements that they don’t have a fucking clue about cannabis.
Yesterday’s comments from Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu were particularly telling of just how completely unaware Canadian politicians are about who cannabis users are, what they might use it for, and especially, how they use it.
The evening session began with a move from Liberal MP Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, to limit the remaining amount of time for consideration at the second reading stage. She suggested that not more than five additional hours be allotted for discussion.
At this point, the bill had been discussed in the House of Commons for periods of time on May 30, June 1, June 2, and June 6.
Members from opposing parties were quick to jump on the Liberal government for trying to ‘force [the bill] through’, as NDP MP Alistair MacGregor said.
Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould fielded accusations of shutting out certain politicians, just before Gladu chimed in with her shining wisdom:
‘Mr. Speaker, it is positively negligent that the government is shutting down debate on this topic. We have already established that this legislation would put marijuana in the hands of children, not just with the 15 joints that 12-year-olds can have but with the four plants per household, so little Johnny can put some in the toaster oven and smoke it up.
(You can watch the MP make these claims in the video above, posted by Lift‘s David Brown. Brown was one of many live-tweeting the events of the sitting.)
While spewing your own misinterpretations of the legislation might be a good way to get a rise out of your political opponents, all it serves to do in the eyes of the voter is make you look silly. But in the eyes of a cannabis user? Gladu’s a complete write-off.
When she speaks of 12-year-olds possessing 15 joints, she’s referring to the part of the Cannabis Act that makes it illegal ‘for a young person to possess cannabis… equivalent to more than five grams’. This provision has been put in place so that in the event that a minor is busted for possession, they’re not subjected to harsh penalties. As Raybould told Gladu after she made her statement, it does not to make it legal for them to carry less than five grams.
But nothing was as perplexing to cannabis users watching at home than her assumption that children would use toaster ovens to smoke their parent’s cannabis.
It didn’t take long for Victoria-based barrister and cannabis activist Kirk Tousaw to mock the MP on Twitter with her very own hashtag, #toasterbud.
While most of us will likely never know what it looks like to smoke cannabis using a toaster, or understand how someone making such a claim can sit in the House of Commons, we can rest assured that Twitter will always be there to help us poke fun at uneducated politicians who like to make baseless claims.
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