U.S. Warns Against Liberalizing Laws on Pot

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. By Campbell Clark
    Source: Globe and Mail

    A move toward possibly decriminalizing marijuana brought warnings yesterday from U.S. officials and lawmakers, who cautioned that Canada should not succumb to "myths" and warned of new disruptions to border trade.
    The Bush administration's drug czar, John Walters, said decriminalization would be a mistake based on misinformation. "I hope the Canadian government does not head down the risky path of decriminalization or legalization," he said in a statement sent to The Globe and Mail.

    While Mr. Walters said that he respects Canada's right to set its own policy, the chairman of a congressional drug-policy committee said he believes decriminalization would prompt U.S. lawmakers to tighten border controls, disrupting Canada-U.S. trade.

    Representative Mark Souder said decriminalization would make Canada a centre of supply and traffic of marijuana that would likely cause Congress and the Bush administration to take tougher measures to police the border.

    "Obviously Canada can do whatever it wants with its laws," Mr. Souder, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. "But to the degree there's less harmonization with our laws, it means that the border traffic is going to slow down.

    "If there's a higher risk of illegal drugs moving, because decriminalization functions as de facto legalization . . . we're not going to sit idly by and not check."

    The prospect of riling the United States, which maintains a strict policy at the federal level against marijuana, is one of the concerns that has held the government back from an outright promise to decriminalize the drug.

    But in Monday's Speech from the Throne, the government signalled it is moving toward liberalizing marijuana laws by including the "possibility" of decriminalization in its blueprint of priorities.

    Decriminalization would end jail terms, heavy fines and criminal records for simple possession of marijuana, replacing them with a minor sanction similar to a traffic ticket. That would stop short of full legalization, which would allow the open, commercial sale of pot.

    Mr. Walters, President George W. Bush's director of national drug control policy, argued that moves toward liberalizing pot laws have been fuelled by misinformation that suggests marijuana use is not a danger.

    "We recognize Canada's sovereignty, but caution the Canadian people not to fall for the same myths about marijuana that far too many Americans have fallen for," he said in the statement.

    "We have learned through hard experience that marijuana is a dangerous drug with serious public health and social consequences, and I hope the Canadian government does not head down the risky path of decriminalization or legalization."

    The political momentum for relaxing pot laws is growing in Canada, however. The Canadian Medical Association has estimated that 1.5 million Canadians regularly smoke pot, and polls show that almost half of Canadians favour legalization while more -- some surveys say seven in 10 -- want decriminalization.

    Last month, a Senate committee called for full legalization, citing several studies in rejecting arguments that marijuana is addictive, extremely harmful or leads to stronger drugs.

    Mr. Souder, an Indiana Republican Indiana, acknowledged that the same debate over pot laws is brewing in his country.

    But he predicted that those in the administration and Congress who would favour tightening border controls in response to decriminalization in Canada would win out.

    Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Author: Campbell Clark
    Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A5
    Copyright: 2002 The Globe and Mail Company
    Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca
    Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/
  2. it's prohibition all over again... and alcahol is legal... as pot will be legal someday... i have faith.

    and i'd be willing to bet my life savings that 80% of the people on capitol hill drink alcahol. wait, i spent my life savings on weed! lol... i still bet they all drink.

    mojta_smoka 4 life!

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  3. If the U.S. persists in their insane prohibition of marijuana, and thinks they can bully the world to obey, then Canada needs to take a different route and appeal to tourists who would be spending their money in Amsterdam.
    Also, they will need to establish a tax system to make up for the deficits by which the U.S. will attempt to bankrupt Canada.

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