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?