Canada: There's a Funny Smell in the Air

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Week in Review
    Source: New York Times

    The big scoop in the Canadian news media last week came when a reporter asked Justice Minister Martin Cauchon if he had ever smoked marijuana. "But of course," replied Mr. Cauchon, Canada's top law enforcement officer. "I'm 39 years old." Smiling, he was quick to add that he had given it up.
    On the other end of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, another group of dogged reporters couldn't help but ask Prime Minister Jean Chrétien if he had ever smoked the stuff.

    "When I was young the word mari- uh, did not exist," the 68-year-old Mr. Chrétien said. "I learned about the word long after that. It was too late for me to try it." A reporter was quick to interject: "It's never too late, prime minister."

    All the banter about marijuana use comes at a time when Canadians are talking about decriminalizing pot smoking. It seems only natural that now that Britain decided last week to make possession of a small amount of marijuana a ticketing offense, that its liberal former colony would soon follow suit.

    Pot smoking is pervasive in Canada, after all, especially in British Columbia, which is also a major production source of marijuana sold in the United States. Marijuana use is so prevalent in Vancouver that the city has been compared to Amsterdam as a pot-smoker's paradise.

    The House of Commons is not currently in session. But Mr. Cauchon has suggested that the country should rethink laws that make marijuana illegal and crowd court calendars with pot-smoking cases.

    The Toronto Star agreed in an editorial last week, saying: "Marijuana remains a vice, like drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. It would be better handled through public education, not by giving people criminal records."

    Still, Canadian opinion makers are wondering what the Americans will say. With relations with the Bush administration already on edge over increased American tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, some Canadians think Washington could retaliate against any softening of Canadian anti-pot laws by tightening the border.

    "Would softer pot laws stir wrath of U.S.?" asked the headline of an article in The Globe and Mail, a prominent national newspaper. "The neighbors are likely to yell," came the answer, "but not everybody thinks that's the end of the world."

    Source: New York Times (NY)
    Published: July 21, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company

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