Marijuana possession charges dropped for 4,000 Canadians

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Wednesday, December 10, 2003


    OTTAWA -- The Canadian government is making it a green Christmas for 4,000 people -- it plans to stay thousands of charges of pot possession as a result of legal battles over medicinal marijuana.

    The decision will apply to every person in Canada charged with possession of marijuana between July 31, 2001, and Oct. 7, 2003, Justice Department spokeswoman Pascale Boulay said.

    The Justice Department intends to cease prosecutions on the cases because of a court ruling in 2000 that found medicinal-marijuana users had the right to possess less than 30 grams of pot.

    The judge delayed that ruling's effect for one year in the hope the federal government would introduce a medicinal-marijuana law.

    But the government did not. Instead, the Cabinet issued regulations for access to medicinal marijuana one day before the yearlong grace period ended in 2001.The Ontario ruling created a legal loophole, effectively invalidating Canada's marijuana possession law as unconstitutional because it failed to provide an exemption for medical use.

    "We estimate there are about 4,000 pending files," Boulay said. However, she said that criminal charges of marijuana possession will still be prosecuted today as a result of the government's announcement yesterday that it will not appeal the medicinal-marijuana case to the Supreme Court.

    "It still constitutes an offense and (anyone caught with marijuana) would face charges." The federal government recently introduced legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    Possession of marijuana now carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

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