30 grams likely limit for legal marijuana possession

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by phunkyphil, Dec 13, 2002.

  1. http://www.canada.com/national/story.asp?id={F5029881-E3E9-464B-97C1-EEED773F1E9C}

    Justice Minister Martin Cauchon is expected to set a cutoff of 30 grams of marijuana -- the equivalent of 25 to 30 cigarettes -- as the amount a person can possess without being criminally charged.

    The minister, who will likely introduce legislation early next year to decriminalize cannabis possession, has chosen the 30-grams measure because it is the amount already considered a lesser offence in the Criminal Code.

    Thirty grams is just more than one ounce in the Imperial system of measurement and it can fit into one small sandwich bag.

    The amount will be in keeping with a recommendation of a special House of Commons committee on illicit drugs, which will issue a report today saying that the federal government should decriminalize possession of marijuana in amounts less than 30 grams.

    The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse supports decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis -- and agrees that 30 grams is the appropriate limit.

    "It seems like a natural benchmark," said communications director Richard Garlick.

    As it now stands, possession of less than 30 grams is already considered a lesser criminal offence with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    Under Mr. Cauchon's proposed regime, people caught with less than 30 grams would be ticketed and not be subject to a criminal record.

    Randy White, a Canadian Alliance MP on the committee, said 30 grams is a "stupid Liberal standard."

    He said five grams should be the limit, as it is in the Netherlands.

    "If you're caught with up to 30 joints, that's not personal possession, you're in a school yard trying to pawn it off on kids," Mr. White said.

    Marijuana possession is expected to be removed from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, in which penalties include a criminal record, and to be moved under the federal Contraventions Act, which governs such things as driving on federal wharves and abandoning vessels in a public harbour.

    People caught with marijuana under 30 grams would get a ticket.

    The current maximum penalty amount under the Contraventions Act is $500, but there is no indication what the fine would be for marijuana possession.

    Ottawa lawyer Eugene Oscapella, of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, says marijuana possession should be legalized so there are no penalties at all.

    He worries that police, who hesitate to charge people under the current law, won't think twice about handing out tickets.

    "Is this going to lead to an increase in people being targetted?" he asked.

    Mr. Cauchon revealed earlier this week that he intends to press ahead in the first four months of next year with legislation to decriminalize marijuana because he says more than one million recreational users in Canada shouldn't be saddled with a criminal record.

    However, the minister stressed that, formally, he was still awaiting the final recommendation from a House of Commons committee on drug use.

    The committee recommendation is more conservative than one made in September by a Senate committee, which said marijuana should be outright legalized.

    Mr. Cauchon has rejected legalization, saying that society still believes that the possession of the drug should carry at least some sort of a penalty.

    The 40-year-old Quebecer has confessed to smoking marijuana in his youth.

    Mr. Cauchon has said that the current system, in which police in some provinces lay charges while others do not, has not been working as it should.
  2. what if youre caught smoking it? carrying it was never really a problem for me, i only have it on me when im going to smoke it soon after.id rather have lax laws on smoking it in public

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