The Liberal government made good on its promise to table a legalization bill, but the marijuana community remains less than thrilled.
With marijuana legalization tabled — and ahead of April 20, as promised by the governing Liberals — some Ottawa activists say they aren’t confident the new laws will reflect the concerns of the cannabis community.
Mike Foster, owner of Crosstown Traffic, a sponsor of Ottawa’s 4/20 event, said there will be mixed emotions at the April 20 event on Parliament Hill.
“Some people are going to be celebrating this, what they perceive as a newfound liberation,” Foster said. “Anyone who actually reads the whole document is going to realize there’s not much there to celebrate.”
Foster said he takes issue with the criminal punishments in the marijuana legalization bill. The proposed law says people can legally have up to 30 grams in public and grow up to four plants. He said the punishment for having more — the proposed calls for up to five years in jail — is too harsh.
“It doesn’t look like anything to celebrate,” he said. “Maybe the 4/20 is needed again more than ever as a protest.”
Russell Barth, the event co-ordinator for 4/20 Ottawa 2017, said the local cannabis community has become more cynical since the government tabled legislation to legalize marijuana. He said he is also concerned about the punishments in legislation.
“We said, ‘OK, we’ll give them a chance’ to see what their legislation is and then we’re handed this turd pie.”
Barth said the Ottawa 4/20 event is the “tip of the spear” because of its location on Parliament Hill.
“You’re on the lap of the seat of power… nowhere else in the world does this happen.”