Federal Smokescreen

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Source: Eye Magazine

    Hold it right there. Before you fire up an extra joint or two to celebrate federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon's plans to decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana, take a minute to consider what's really being proposed.
    We do, of course, believe that Cauchon's stated intentions -- if they're actually sincere -- are a step in the right direction. What he's just signalled, on the heels of a Dec. 12 parliamentary committee report that recommended decriminalization, is that within the first four months of 2003, he'll introduce legislation to the effect that those found with small amounts of weed will only be fined and will not be charged criminally.

    What a small amount consists of is yet to be determined, though the committee did recommend a limit of 30 grams (about an ounce, or, say, 50 average-sized joints), and also said people should also be able to grow that much for their personal consumption.

    Overall, this would be an eminently sensible approach to regulating the drug, given the amount of police and court time eaten up by small-time marijuana offences, not to mention how unevenly simple possession laws are currently enforced and prosecuted across the country.

    If legislation actually happens (and there's reason to think Cauchon is bluffing), recreational users will indeed have something to cheer about in the new year.

    But the troubling part is that medical marijuana users, or federal exemptees -- the people legally entitled to smoke the stuff to alleviate the symptoms of severe illness -- are probably going to be left out of Cauchon's march to freedom. And that, given the legal hoops they've already jumped through, is a national shame.

    Under decriminalization, supplying or trafficking in marijuana would still be a criminal offence. Now, some pot advocates will argue that, overall, it makes no sense to decriminalize demand without decriminalizing supply. But this especially holds true when it comes to medical-marijuana users. They need a high-quality, consistent source of the drug -- the kind of supply offered by the compassion clubs and centres that have sprung up around the country, who distribute despite the risk of sudden police busts (you may recall the controversial, out-of-the-blue bust that closed down the Toronto Compassion Centre this summer).

    Indeed, medical users won the right to toke in a landmark 2000 court ruling. Yet by all accounts, in practice, they're still screwed.

    Federal health minister Anne McClellan backtracked this spring on the issue, saying she was experiencing some "discomfort" at allowing exemptees access to the government weed that's been grown in an old mine in Flin Flon, Man., without years' worth of scientific tests or some such nonsense (a court case was launched in Ontario this fall to force the federal government to distribute it). And we note with dismay the recent stories about a cancer patient who fought to have local police return his home-grown plants.

    So yes, Minister Cauchon, move ahead with decriminalization this spring. But while you're at it, make sure your cabinet colleagues get their collective ass in gear and distribute the weed that's already been grown under their auspices.

    Most importantly, as part of your pending legislation, you need to legalize supply, especially in the case of compassion clubs, those organizations dedicated to providing safe, consistent cannabis to people who desperately need it and are legally able to have it. Medical users have made a lot of noise before, and they'll make it again, no doubt. If that doesn't work, they'll continue to use the courts to ensure their legal rights are put into practice. But they absolutely shouldn't have to.

    Source: Eye Magazine (CN ON)
    Published: December 19, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Eye Communications Ltd.
    Contact: eye@eye.net
    Website: http://www.eye.net/

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    Toronto Compassion Centre
  2. I absolutely agree that the medical users shouldn't have to run to the courts so often to get the laws in place...

    But do you not agree that some sick ppl CAN grow their own? There are medical users out there that grow enough to get them by, on their OWN.

    It sound like to me that those who have the most to lose in this battle are the ppl who want to make distribution their sole source of income... and that is a damn shame!

    I say let them lobby and get the laws that would benefit them FIRST and then the med users. After all, they are the one who will have much to gain in re to the Ching Ching $$ :D

    Den Activist
  3. I can't stress enough the stupidity of the nation for not allowing marijuana to be legal. And I also feel sorry for the ones who desperately need it just so they can feel ok, because of some horrible illness they have. but can't get it. If pot was legal, the government could sell it. Now that might get negative feedback from some of the members here, but the nation is in a financial slump, pot could be the answer. It could really boost the economy. Plus, there just isn't any real reason for it to be illegal. It seems alsmost unbelievable to me. Sorry for my bitching and moaning, this just isn't right. what was the quote, how did it go? "The consequence for using drugs should not be more harmful than the use of the drug itself" I think thats it.

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