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Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Feb 8, 2003.

  1. By Willy Noiles
    Source: View Magazine

    As far back as 1973, the LeDain Commission, a federal government commission looking into the non–medical use of drugs, called for an end to pot possession and cultivation charges. 30 years later, the government might just act.
    Recent statements by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon and the Prime Minister's Office suggest the government may finally introduce legislation to decriminalize marijuana, a move some have been advocating for years.

    “If we're talking about decriminalizing marijuana, we may move ahead quickly as a government,” Cauchon said on December 9, in response to a Commons committee report released in early December, which called on the government to loosen current laws and possibly allow Canadians to grow the plant for personal use. Although he would not give a specific time frame, he did state, “Give me the four first months of next year.” And earlier this month, the PMO spokesmen said, “The PM is strong on this. The government is determined to address this issue.”

    Yet until now, the government has done very little. So why the sudden rush by Jean Chrétien's government? As with same–sex benefits, action on such controversial issues seems to be taken only when it's forced upon them by the courts. In four recent court cases, judges have thrown out possession charges. In one recent ruling, Ontario Court Justice John Moore threw out marijuana possession charges against Martin Barnes, a Toronto man arrested by police with the equivalent of one joint in his pocket. “Mr. Barnes was charged with an offense not known to law,” Justice Moore stated. This is because in July 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down a federal law prohibiting the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. Parliament failed to take further action effectively leaving no law in place.

    The Canadian Medical Association estimates that 1.5 million Canadians smoke marijuana recreationally. It has also stated that moderate use of marijuana has minimal health effects. Some evidence suggests that upwards of 100,000 use it daily. Police estimate about 800 tonnes of cannabis is circulated in the country each year. The government spends about $1.5 billion a year in drug enforcement that has done little, if anything, to curb the drug trade. The Canadian Association of Police has stated that prosecuting people for small amounts ties up scarce resources. And recent polls show 65 per cent of Canadians favour decriminalization.

    Some European countries and Australia have already decriminalized marijuana. In the Netherlands, possession results in a ticket but no criminal report. MPs from the Progressive Conservatives, the Bloc, Canadian Alliance and the NDP have gone on record at various times advocating the decriminalization of marijuana. Some, like Windsor–St. Clair NDP MP Joe Comartin, have gone so far to state marijuana should be regulated much like alcohol is.

    Comartin's proposal has already been backed by a Senate committee report released in September 2002 that called for a regulatory system for the sale and production of marijuana and hashish. The report contained other recommendations Cauchon should seriously study such as looser rules for the use of medical marijuana, a national adviser on psychoactive substances, a conference of the provinces, municipalities and others to set the ground rules for legal marijuana and funding for research on drugs and prevention and treatment programs (which could be financed by taxes on the sale of legal marijuana).

    “Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue,” Progressive Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, the committee chair, stated at the time.

    Although the government may finally act, the devil could be, as they say, in the details. Some Liberal backbenchers have already stated their opposition to decriminalizing marijuana fearing it will lead to widespread use or more dangerous drug use. Whether these relics from a bygone age would vote against their own government on the issue remains to be seen. What we have seen already though is cause for concern.

    The Commons committee report, for instance, didn't go far enough. Passing a joint to a friend could still be considered a crime under its recommendations, an oversight committee member Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies found wanting. Davies and others also criticize the intrusive powers police would still have.

    Dorothy Schaff is one of those Canadians who smokes pot occasionally for its pain relief effects. Schaff finds the laws surrounding possession somewhat ironic.

    “I'm on 250 mg of morphine and they're worried about me smoking a doobie?” she questions. She also mentions diet programs on the market that have led to some deaths and illnesses. Yet, we don't see the sellers of these programs being prosecuted, she added.

    Undoubtedly, the Canadian government will receive pressure from the United States because of the millions it spends each year trying to control the importing of illegal drugs.

    “We know the government is going to get a lot of pressure from the Americans because of the millions they spend on their drug war,” Schaff acknowledges. But she and others are saying it's time that Canada stood up to the American government.

    “It's time for Jean Chrétien to stop playing games and act,” Comartin stated recently.

    Source: View Magazine (Hamilton, CN ON)
    Author: Willy Noiles
    Published: February 6-12, 2003
    Copyright: 2003 View Magazine
    Contact: editor@viewmag.com
    Website: http://www.viewmag.com/
     
  2. OMG!!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!! THANK GOD THANK GOD THANK GOD!!!! FINALLY THE WORLD IS COMING TO ITS SENSES AND SEEING THAT WEED ISNT BAD AT ALL, AND IT WILL HELP THE ECONOMY AND SHIT!!!!!! WHAEVER!! YAYYAYA!!!!! IF THE US DONT LAGALIZE IT, THEN I WILL JUST MOVE TO AUSTRALIA!!!! THIS IS FUCKING KEWL!!!!! YES!!!!! WEED MIGHT BECOME LAGAL IN A COUPLE YEARS!!!!! THANKS GOD!!!!!!! IM SO HISTERICAL!!!!!!
     
  3. Fuck Chretien ... and fuck the US government
     
  4. Um, he's the one who's making it decriminalized...
     

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