Drugs in Canada - Gone To Pot

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. From The Economist Print Edition
    Source: Economist

    Many Canadians have often wondered if the grass is greener south of the border. But now, thanks to new federal rules that came into force on July 30th, it is easier to get the stuff at home: the change allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes.
    Only those suffering from terminal illnesses, or from diseases such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, may apply. But the new rules are a sign of a wider shift in Canadian attitudes to drugs. Other countries, such as the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, have decriminalised possession of marijuana for recreational use.

    What is unusual about Canada's action is that the government itself is gearing up to supply patients and researchers. Under a federal contract, a private company is growing quality-controlled weed in a disused mineshaft in Manitoba.

    That is in stark contrast to the United States, where the Supreme Court recently scuppered moves by a dozen states to legalise the medical use of marijuana. Ethan Nadelmann of the Lindesmith Centre, a drug-policy think-tank in New York, argues that Canada is moving away from a hardline American-style “war on drugs” towards European-style “harm reduction”. Vancouver, for example, is debating whether to establish heroin clinics and safe-injection sites. And in practice police in British Columbia are turning a blind eye to possession of small quantities of weed.

    Not enough, argues Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, a lobby group for reform. Under the new rules, to get marijuana patients will need a declaration from at least one doctor, if not two-and the Canadian Medical Association has expressed strong reservations about the new policy. In opinion polls, around half of those surveyed now support the decriminalisation of marijuana, or minimal fines for its possession. So does Joe Clark, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Even Stockwell Day, the Bible-thumping leader of the right-wing Canadian Alliance, has admitted to smoking the drug in his youth.

    More change may be on the way. Later this year Canada's Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the law banning marijuana. The Senate, the House of Commons and the auditor-general are all studying drug policy. Meanwhile, Canadians keep on puffing; almost two-fifths of those polled in June admitted to having taken marijuana at least once.

    Note: The pressure for more relaxed marijuana laws is growing.

    Source: Economist, The (UK)
    Published: August, 2nd 2001
    Copyright: 2001 The Economist Newspaper Limited
    Contact: letters@economist.com
    Website: http://www.economist.com/

    Related Articles & Web Sites:

    TLC - DPF http://www.lindesmith.org/

    Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy http://www.cfdp.ca/

    Canadian Links http://freedomtoexhale.com/can.htm

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