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A second Ontario judge has "pounded another stake in the heart" of Canada's pot law, finding there is nothing on the books forbidding the possession of small amounts of dope.
Ontario Court of Justice Judge John Moore yesterday threw out a simple possession charge against a 40-year-old man with no criminal record who was alleged to have had the equivalent of a joint in his pocket.
Moore agreed with his Windsor colleague, Justice Douglas Phillips, who on Jan. 2 found there are no laws in Canada prohibiting the possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less.
'NO LONGER EXISTS'
Moore found that the law as it currently stands in Ontario "no longer exists." Thus, he said, the charge against Martin Barnes is "an offence not known to law" and is null and void.
"Anyone charged with simple possession of marijuana in this city should be on their phones to their lawyers this afternoon, telling them to get into court and get these charges thrown out," said lawyer Aaron Harnett, who won the argument.
Barnes is also charged with dangerously driving his motorcycle in gridlock on Adelaide St. in July 2002. It was in the course of his arrest that the pot allegation arose. The case was in court to set a trial date but Harnett said Moore didn't have the jurisdiction to set a date on the drug charge, due to the Windsor ruling. Although that decision is not binding upon other judges to agree, he urged Moore to follow it and toss it.
Moore said it's a "simple and straightforward" matter and Harnett's argument was "common sense."
The decision flowed from a July 2000 Court of Appeal ruling that gave Parliament a year to amend the law or it would fall off the books. Parliament didn't. Instead, regulations were installed that Justice Sidney Lederman found unconstitutional this week.
APPEALS MAY DRAG
Harnett said pot laws are "under attack from all sides now."
Court heard the Windsor case will be appealed by the federal Crown on Feb. 21 in Superior Court. Prosecutor Nick Devlin urged Moore to adjourn the case until the appeal is settled.
But Moore said it made "no sense" to adjourn pending the outcome of the appeal, especially in the face of the current law and the government's position on possible decriminalization legislation. He also noted appeals may drag on for years.
"Justice Moore pounded another stake into the heart of the marijuana laws today," Harnett said.
Harnett estimated the ruling could affect "hundreds of cases throughout Ontario."
Very, very interesting. I was convinced for a while back there that the pot legalization/decrim was not going to happen...again.
Now I'm not so sure. The courts are definately standing their groud on this, as this all flows from Terry Parker's med-pot court victory, right? The court said Canada shall have a good med-pot distribution system within a year or all pot possesion laws would be invalid. Or something like that.
Ottawa appealed the decision. The latest one that is. The new one about pot possesion laws actually being invalid. They are gonna claim that they changed the laws enough to make med pot availible.
So, what will happen? All signs point to decrim, 'cept for Canada's recent(or perhaps ancient) history of falling in line with USA. That to me is the biggest snag in this whole process.
What will happen...
I'm still bettin not much will change...at most decrim of possesion, which would be a lot better than now...but it's still not legalization.
Eventually it is coming for Canada and even USA too...that much seems sure. Who can say when?
-------------------- -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me