House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was epilepsy.

Topics

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

When statements by members started, the hon. member for Mount Royal had the floor. He has 20 minutes and 30 seconds to conclude his remarks.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will continue where I left off.

As a result of changes in conditional sentencing, the federal government will bear additional costs of about $8 million, and the provincial and territorial governments additional costs totalling about $137 million. Yet the government indicated that there would be no cost to either the federal government or the provincial and territorial governments with respect to this element of the legislation.

Indeed, instead of appreciating the evidence, the government sought to discredit both the Parliamentary Budget Officer and his report, saying it relied on “wild assumptions”. However, the PBO report is peer reviewed, and it notes that its figures “are likely under-estimates. [And] they also include no additional capital costs related to the building of new prisons”. We know that we will need to build more prisons to deal with the fallout of this legislation.

Fifth, and relatedly, there has been insufficient consultation with the provinces and territories and, indeed, the municipalities, where these costs will be imposed at the expense of the delivery of government services. This is particularly true in the case of Quebec, whose youth justice model, a preventive, rehabilitative and protective one, is being replaced by a punitive, incarcerative, and ineffective one.

Moreover, the government pre-emptively dismissed the Quebec model, which had brought about the lowest recidivism rate in Canada, and, equally, dismissed attempts by the Quebec Justice Minister, Jean-Marc Fournier, to mitigate the damage through a series of proposed amendments, while not providing any evidence supporting its legislative scheme.

I am proud to rise here today as a member from the province of Quebec, which has one of the best youth criminal justice systems in the world, a system that many other jurisdictions look to as a model to emulate.

It is inconceivable that the government is trying to deny our program's significant results, while saying that Quebeckers were consulted and support this bill. I say “inconceivable” because surveys clearly show that Quebeckers do not support Bill C-10. I say “inconceivable” because the Quebec justice minister, Jean-Marc Fournier, came to Ottawa several times to explain why he thought this bill was unacceptable, which is the general consensus among most Quebeckers.

It is inconceivable that this government continues to claim that it has the support of the provinces on this issue, when it is patently obvious that Quebec never agreed with Bill C-10, does not agree with it now, and will never agree with it. The Government of Quebec has made it clear that the province will not pay the costs associated with this bill. Other provinces have taken the same position.

What is needed at this point is a federal, provincial, territorial, municipal dialogue in order to address the question of cost and respective burdens as discussed yesterday in my meeting with the representative of the Canadian Association of Police Boards.

Sixth, even in its approach to deterring crime, something all parties want to address, the legislation introduced new mandatory minimums and enhanced existing mandatory minimums. However, Canadian studies and evidence from other jurisdictions show that these penalties do not deter crime. They increase the chance that the offender will reoffend. They are unfair, inconsistent and grossly disproportionate. They invite further constitutional challenges. They have a differential and discriminatory impact on vulnerable groups already suffering from poverty, deprivation and disadvantage, such as our aboriginal peoples. We are witnessing a disproportionate representation of aboriginal people in our prisons, particularly younger aboriginal people. Further, 34% of our aboriginal women are already in prison.

Let me reiterate, this is not a personal conclusion. It is one that is anchored in studies the world over, from the United States, South Africa, from whence I have just come and which discussed and critiqued mandatory minimum sentences, New Zealand and the like. That conclusion is also found in volumes of social science research and evidence.

Perhaps the strongest evidence against mandatory minimums comes from the United States. Legal experts have increasingly critiqued their use. Indeed, just this past month a coalition of American law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors called upon the Senate of Canada to reconsider the mandatory minimum sentences in Bill C-10 concluding:

We cannot understand why Canada's federal government and some provincial governments would embark down this road.

Indeed, the Ontario court ruling in the Smickle case several weeks ago is proof of this point. The judge struck down a mandatory minimum in that case, saying that its imposition would be “fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable”.

For a government that touts itself as being so concerned with cost cutting, it is surprising that it would embark on a criminal justice plan that would have it defending multiple charter claims at great expense to the Canadian taxpayers without enhancing the integrity of our system and without serving as a deterrent or being fair in its application. Indeed, it is surprising that the government would insist on continuing debate on Bill C-10 without hearing everything the courts have to say on this matter.

Simply put, these laws have helped to fill prisons without increasing public safety. They are seriously constitutionally suspect. It would be highly inadvisable for us to enact legislation with such constitutionally suspect provisions.

Seventh, there has been the abuse of process and abuse of Parliament, as reflected in the raison d'être for this debate and the time allocation. Simply put, the government rejected all amendments proposed by the opposition, including some 40 amendments I introduced in committee and the House, anchored in my own experience as a former minister of justice and professor of law.

I do not say this to be self-serving. These included amendments which I introduced based on expert witness testimony to improve the legislation, to eliminate prospective breaches of the Charter of Rights, to check abuses of executive power, to protect the rights of victims, to provide for treatment rather than incarceration for mentally ill offenders, to address the damage of mandatory minimum sentences, to address prison overcrowding, to protect privacy and to provide for consistency between the English and French versions of the bill.

The government could have at least allowed for debate on these proposals rather than rejecting them out of hand. I do hope that the day will come that, for the sake of the protection of the victims and for the safety of our citizens, some of the more egregious portions of this bill will be amended properly by subsequent Parliaments, while others will be rightfully struck down by the courts.

Eighth, the government did not allow for any discussion of the privacy concerns in the legislation reflected in the letter of the Privacy Commissioner to the head of the justice and human rights committee. Accordingly, there are numerous privacy concerns that remain unaddressed and un-redressed by this legislation. Certainly this is nothing new for a government that has such little regard for Canadians' privacy as one can see in its other legislative proposals, such as Bill C-30.

Ninth, in the government's rush to adopt the legislation and unwillingness to listen to opposition amendments, internal inconsistencies in translation between the English and French versions of the legislation still remain. It is regrettable that we are adding errors into the Criminal Code simply because the government viewed time allocation and haste in adoption as being more important than ensuring the quality of our laws and the integrity of our processes.

Tenth, the manner in which debate was shut down in Parliament, in the legislative committee, in report stage, again this week, as well as the manner in which amendments were summarily rejected and those offering them were accused with the arrogant and offensive rejoinder that the opposition supports criminals and not victims, was all a standing abuse of Parliament and the democratic process. We were required to inhibit discussion with our constituents, something which prejudiced members of Parliament from all parties. The Minister of Justice has said that this bill and the nine bills contained within it were before us in a previous Parliament. The justice for victims of terrorism act was never before this House. Further, there are many members of this House who were not MPs in previous Parliaments. Why should they not have had the right to discuss this legislation? Why should their input not have been solicited? Why should they not have been able to consult their constituents?

Some of these bills were never debated in this House. The justice for victims of terrorism legislation was never even tabled in this place. Given the compelling nature of this bill, once tabled, it deserved more debate so that the important precedential resonance of this legislation could have been appreciated.

Eleventh, this omnibus bill is about principles and priorities. Indeed, it is about values. Simply put, if we spend billions of dollars on building unnecessary prisons while crime is receding and on incarcerating more people for longer periods of time, then that money cannot be used to invest in a social justice agenda of childcare, health care, crime prevention, seniors or social housing.

It is clear that as a result of this omnibus bill we will have more crime, less justice, skyrocketing costs, fewer rehabilitation programs for offenders, less protection voiced for victims and less protection for society. I have said this before, and it particularly resonates today. Adopting this legislation, apart from the justice for victims terrorism act, would mark a sad day for Canadian criminal justice, a betrayal of the very mandate for safe streets and safe communities that all of us in this House share.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Jasbir Sandhu Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, like any good manager, we would presume that we would have a budget or a cost analysis of how much this particular huge bill would cost Canadians. Yet we have no answer from the government how many billions of dollars it would cost. Not only that, we would think we would learn from our neighbours. We saw these kinds of laws introduced in the United States back in the 1980s and 1990s. We saw the results. Basically, it has been a disaster. A number of states in the United States were at the brink of bankruptcy, as it was costing billions of dollars. How is the costing going to impact on the provinces?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the issue of costing would impact not only on the provinces which, in the case of the Province of Quebec, have rejected the principles of this legislation such as in the matter of the youth criminal justice legislation. The provinces would be assuming costs of legislation that they did not agree to. They would not even know what the costs would be because the government has yet to disclose these costs. We know, with respect to the matter of conditional sentencing, there would be an additional $137 million imposed on the provinces with respect to this one piece of legislation alone. It would not only impose a burden on the provinces, it would impose a burden, as I discussed yesterday with the Canadian Association of Police Boards, on the municipalities which have not even been involved in this discussion and debate.

And it would impose a particular burden on us as parliamentarians. We have a constitutional responsibility to be the guardians of the public purse. We cannot be the guardians of the public purse, trustees of the public, if we do not even know what the cost of this legislation would be. Therefore, we cannot exercise our responsibility for constitutional oversight.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is recognized internationally for his expertise. I would like to thank him for his excellent speech, his interventions at committee and his well-founded amendments.

The member has said the bill is constitutionally suspect. Should the government be required to demonstrate due diligence and table evidence showing constitutionality in this House?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege to serve as minister of justice and attorney general of this country. One of my primary responsibilities was to ensure, before I tabled legislation, that such legislation comported with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As I pointed out in my remarks, there are some six principal constitutionally suspect areas in this legislation. It behooves us, within the responsibility of due diligence that the Minister of Justice has, that he table in the House the advice he received that such legislation is constitutional. I cannot imagine that he would have received advice that these provisions are constitutional. I want to know that they were even discussed to begin with, namely, that due diligence was exercised to ensure compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have my doubts about that.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, given the previous experience of the member of Parliament for Mount Royal as a minister of justice, and given that we do not have any tabled documents from the Department of Justice attesting to the fact that this legislation does conform to the requirements of the charter, would the hon. member give us some advice as to what the Minister of Justice should have done and can still do to ensure this legislation meets the requirements of our Constitution?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the ordinary conduct of business, the Minister of Justice would have had to refer this matter to the constitutional experts within the Department of Justice. He would have asked them whether the suspect provisions that I have mentioned, or any others, comport with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have full respect for those officials in the Department of Justice. I have my doubts as to whether that question was even put to the officials. If it had been put to them, he would have received the response that those provisions were invalid.

I would ask the minister to refer those matters to his officials and at least suspend the application of Bill C-10 with respect to those provisions that are constitutionally suspect until that advice can be tabled before this Parliament.

If the bill goes ahead, we are going to see a series of constitutional challenges with respect to those constitutionally suspect provisions. This could have been avoided if the Minister of Justice had exercised due diligence. We are going to see additional constitutional challenges at an additional cost to the taxpayer, all undermining the integrity of our process.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill was called an omnibus bill because it includes many different bills. If each of those bills had been introduced separately, could we not have examined them more carefully, including the constitutionality of their provisions? What are my colleague's thoughts on that?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question. As I said at the beginning of this debate, if the government had introduced nine bills instead of just one, we could have studied each one properly. We could have not only studied each bill better, but also focused on the constitutionality of their provisions, which, in my opinion, are unconstitutional. We could have fulfilled our responsibilities as members of Parliament by studying these nine bills separately instead of what we ended up doing.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my esteemed colleague for his very interesting presentation and especially for focusing on the constitutionality of things.

I would like to address another matter. In the first nations communities, people are talking about the criminalization that this bill will mean for young aboriginals. Does the hon. member have any thoughts on that?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

There is a particular problem with aboriginal people, especially aboriginal youth. At present, there is an overrepresentation of aboriginals, and especially aboriginal youth, in our prisons. Constitutionality may also be at issue here. In fact, the Supreme Court declared that it would not be possible to apply the principles of the Gladue ruling.

There is another very serious problem, especially with regard to the aboriginal issue. With Bill C-10, the rights of aboriginals would be violated.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to participate in the debate on the Senate's message to this House of Commons on Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act.

Bill C-10 is a comprehensive crime bill that addresses a number of issues: supporting the victims of terrorism; strengthening sentences for child sexual offences, serious drug offences and violent and serious offences vis-à-vis the use of conditional sentences; enhancing post-sentencing measures to enhance offender accountability and management; strengthening the youth criminal justice system's ability to deal with serious repeat and violent offenders; and enhancing the ability of the immigration system to protect vulnerable foreign workers against abuse and exploitation, including through the use of human trafficking.

While I will focus my remarks on the provisions of Bill C-10 that deal with serious drug offences, I want to clearly state to all members of this House my unequivocal support for Bill C-10 in its entirety and also for the amendments as proposed by our colleagues in the upper chamber, the Senate.

This part of the bill has been before us or before the Senate on several distinct occasions. I would remind all members of the House that the portion of Bill C-10, which proposes various mandatory minimum sentences, falls within the ambit of Canada's national anti-drug strategy. That strategy proposes a two-track approach: one that would be tough on drug crime and the other that would focus on the victims of drug crime.

The national anti-drug strategy includes three action plans: first, preventing illicit drug use; second, treating those with illicit drug dependencies; and finally, combatting the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

The action plan to combat the production and distribution of illicit drugs contains a number of elements, including ensuring that strong and adequate penalties are in place for serious drug crimes. It is within this context that the bill must be viewed if one is to view it fairly.

Moreover, the bill follows through on one of the key elements of the priority of the government to tackle crime, which this government has repeatedly identified as one of its key commitments.

There is wide and vast support for the bill from a great number of ordinary Canadians, Canadians who are concerned about drug abuse, Canadians who are concerned that marijuana grow operations and methamphetamine production and trafficking are out of control, and Canadians who are very concerned that these activities pose a serious threat to their own safety and the safety of the communities in which they live.

The legislation also has the wide support of police officer organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Police Boards.

We have responsibilities as legislators to ensure that our criminal law stays on top of serious developments in our society. Over the last decade, domestic operations related to the production and distribution of marijuana and synthetic drugs have dramatically increased, resulting in very serious problems in several regions of Canada.

I live in and represent Edmonton and Edmonton is certainly one of the regions in Canada that has seen an epidemic growth in organized crime and the violence that is associated with it. In fact, anecdotally, last year there were 44 homicides in Canada and, sadly, Edmonton led Canada in that statistic.

In some cases, these problems have overwhelmed the capacity of law enforcement agencies to deal with these phenomena. These legal operations pose serious health and public safety hazards to those in or around the grow operations. They produce environmental hazards, post-cleanup problems and endanger the lives and health of the communities at large.

Moreover, organized crime groups and criminal gangs are resorting to increased violence to establish their dominance over the drug trade in various metropolitan regions of the country. Sadly, but unavoidably, innocent persons are being hurt.

Now that is not to say that all drug offenders are necessarily dangerous or that all forms of drug trades are violent. Bill C-10 recognizes this and that is why what is being proposed in the bill is a focused and targeted approach, a surgical approach so to speak.

As has been stated before, the new penalties would not apply to possession offences nor will they apply to offences involving certain types of drugs. The bill focuses on the more serious drug offences involving the most serious drugs. Overall, the proposals represent a tailored approach to mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offences.

I would remind all members of the House how this part of the proposed Bill C-10 would operate. For schedule I drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, the bill proposes a one year minimum for the majority of the serious drug offences in the presence of certain aggravating factors. Some of those aggravating factors are as follows: the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with organized crime; the offence involved violence or the threat of violence, or weapons or the threat of the use of weapons; or, the offence is committed by someone who was convicted in the previous 10 years of a designated drug offence.

I think we would all agree that in the presence of those aggravating factors a minimum mandatory sentence ought to apply. Moreover, if youth are present or the offence occurs in a prison, the minimum is increased to two years.

In the case of importing, exporting and possession for the purposes of exporting, the minimum penalty will be one year if certain aggravating factors, such as the offence was committed for the purposes of trafficking, and for two years if the offence involves more than one kilogram of a schedule I drug.

A minimum of two years is provided for the production offence involving a schedule I drug. The minimum sentence for the production of a schedule I drug increases to three years where aggravating factors relating to health and safety are present. These factors are the following: the person used real property that belonged to a third party to commit the offence; the production constituted a potential security, health or safety hazard to children who were in the location where the offence was committed or in the immediate area; the production constituted a potential public safety hazard in a residential area; the person placed or set a trap.

We hear all too often of rental properties that are turned into grow operations with significant damage having been done to the real property of the landlords. It is that type of aggravating factor with respect to damage to real property belonging to a third person that this portion of Bill C-10 captures and, I would suggest to members of the House, appropriately so.

For schedule II drugs, such as marijuana, cannabis resin and others, the proposed mandatory minimum penalty for trafficking and possession for the purposes of trafficking is one year where certain aggravating factors such as violence, recidivism or organized crime are present. The minimum penalty is increased to two years if other aggravating factors, such as trafficking to youth, are involved.

In the case of importing, exporting or possession for the purpose of exporting, the minimum penalty is one year imprisonment when certain aggravating factors are present such as the offence was committed for the purpose of trafficking.

A lot has been said in the media and by the opposition about the offence of marijuana production. Some of it has been factual but a lot of it has been misconstrued hyperbole. Therefore, it is important for members to know what is actually in the bill. The bill proposes mandatory penalties based on the number of plants involved: for the production of 6 to 200 plants and if the plants are cultivated for the purposes of trafficking, the minimum mandatory sentence is six months; for the production of between 201 and 500 plants, the minimum mandatory is one year; for the production of more than 500 plants, the mandatory minimum is two years; and for the production of cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking, the mandatory minimum is one year.

The minimum sentences for the production of schedule II drugs increases by 50% where any of the aggravating factors relating to health and safety, which I just enumerated, such as using the real property of a third person to facilitate the grow op, are present.

I would like to remind members of the House that this part of Bill C-10 is not just about minimum penalties. The maximum penalty for producing marijuana would be doubled from 7 to 14 years' imprisonment. The amphetamine class of drugs, as well as the date rape drugs, GHB and Rohypnol, would be transferred from schedule III to schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, thereby allowing the courts to impose higher maximum penalties for offences involving those drugs. We know from media reports that the so-called date rape drugs are becoming a scourge and epidemic among young people, often with catastrophic and fatal consequences.

It is important that I remind members of the House that the proposed legislation would allow a trial judge the discretion of imposing a penalty other than the mandatory minimum on an offender who is referred to a drug treatment court where the offender successfully completes the court-ordered program. Moreover, we know that drug treatment courts are not in all centres in Canada and if there is no drug treatment court, the court sentencing the offender can still refer the offender for treatment for his or her drug addiction. Also, if the offender successfully completes the program, the court would not be required to impose the mandatory minimum penalty for the drug offence.

I have had the pleasure to visit the Edmonton drug treatment court on three or four occasions. It does absolutely remarkable work. It attempts to help individuals break the cycle of getting involved in criminal activity to feed their drug addiction. It is a carrot and stick program, in that the person will not be sentenced to prison and could be discharged for the offence if he or she successfully completes a rehabilitation program and complies with all the terms and conditions of release, including abstaining from all drugs and alcohol, and attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or whatever program the person is directed to attend.

The drug treatment court has been very successful in helping people break the cycle of committing crimes to feed their addiction and starting all over again. I cannot emphasize enough to members of the House the importance of that piece of the puzzle. The courts would have the ability not to impose a mandatory minimum sentence when the individual successfully completes a program as directed by the drug treatment court.

The proposed reforms in Bill C-10 have been carefully studied in both chambers and committees of both houses. I sit on the justice committee. I sat on the justice committee in the last Parliament. This bill is comprised of nine separate but related pieces of legislation, all of which have been studied significantly not only in this Parliament but in the last Parliament as well. This is the type of legislation Canadians have been demanding. Canadians are demanding safety and security in their homes and communities.

Bill C-10 has been carefully studied in both chambers. Witnesses who have appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs have welcomed these proposals. They have welcomed them because they send drug traffickers and organized crime a clear message that if they commit serious crimes and cause harm to our society, they will be spending time in jail.

There are provisions that deal with serious drug crimes, as well as provisions that deal with amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, ending House arrest for property and other serious crimes and changes to our pardon system. All of these separate but combined pieces of legislation have been demanded not only by police and chiefs of police but also by our constituents, such as the citizens I represent in northwest Edmonton who, sadly, have witnessed a record number of murders, 44 in 2011, and all of the other crimes that are tied into organized crime in the city.

This type of legislation is desperately needed. It was promised and it is being delivered. I encourage all members to vote in favour of Bill C-10, as amended.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for actually taking the time to go through each one of the statutes in the bill and reminding us again how very horrendous some of these penalties would be for people who may or may not fit within his definition of criminality.

It has been estimated that up to 300,000 Canadians utilize marijuana for medical purposes. The present marijuana licensing procedures have properly licensed perhaps 5,000 Canadians. In Canada many people are using marijuana for medical purposes, but they are not legally licensed to do so. Those people who are using it to take care of their health issues are either accessing it on the open market, growing plants themselves or finding other ways to supply themselves with a product they have identified as useful for their health issues.

Now we have a situation where if people who are taking care of their own health are found in possession of more than five plants, they will be given a mandatory minimum sentence for that. The judge will not have the ability to look at the mitigating circumstances.

Would my colleague explain to me how this would serve us well in the future?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are so many fallacies in that question I do not know where to start.

The medicinal use permit for marijuana still exists under Health Canada. As the hon. member knows, Health Canada grants permits in the appropriate circumstances to individuals who are suffering from glaucoma or some other pain-related illnesses where marijuana has been medically proven to ease their discomfort. Nothing has changed.

With respect to the suggestion that people who grow in excess of five plants for their own personal use would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence, if the hon. member had been listening to me he would know that is not true. There has to be aggravating factors, the most likely one being for the purpose of trafficking. However, if they have a permit, they are not operating illegally, and if they are not trafficking, they are not operating illegally.

Nothing is changing with respect to the permits that are issued for legitimate medicinal use. Under the appropriate circumstances, those individuals will continue to have access, provided that they buy from a grower or distributor who is licensed by the Ministry of Health for that purpose.