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InvisibletrendalM
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(Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms
    #1481884 - 04/22/03 11:02 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Ottawa ? The Chr?tien government will bring in a new law in June to decriminalize simple marijuana possession as part of a revamped National Drug Strategy that will include more resources to combat drug trafficking, the Star has learned.
The move has met serious objections around the cabinet table among senior government members who fear it will further chill Canada-U.S. relations. Others worry about potential effects on public health.

Still, Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien backs the bill, which is expected to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a mere ticketing offence that would not carry the stigma of a criminal record, said a senior government source.

Chr?tien views the sporadic and inconsistent enforcement of the current law against marijuana possession across the country as "a basic injustice" which not only stigmatizes some Canadians, but also breeds disrespect for the law, said the insider.

Now, some young Canadians convicted of pot possession, particularly in rural areas, are saddled with a criminal record and even serve jail time, while others get away with only a warning from police too busy to pursue minor pot offences.

The plan is to devote more resources to fighting drug traffickers and give new money to police and courts for that purpose.

No decision has been made on what amount of marijuana in a person's possession would be considered "small" and for "personal use" under the law; it could be as low as 10 grams (about 10 marijuana cigarettes) ? it could go as high as 20 grams.

In the past, 30 grams has been used as the dividing line between offences of simple possession and those of drug trafficking. But the source said the government recognizes much of the marijuana sold today is more potent than in the past.

The insider downplayed any possibility of a border backlash from the United States, saying the bill will be a made-in-Canada initiative to reflect this country's law enforcement priorities and concerns.

"We're a sovereign country and we make laws appropriate to Canadian circumstances," the source said. "And the intention of the drug strategy is to dedicate more resources to deal with the problem of trafficking, which does speak to American concerns."

The government believes a strong argument can be made that a ticketing regime that imposes a penalty "would do more to discourage the use of marijuana than the current law."

John Walters, the White House director of U.S. drug control policy, has repeatedly warned Canada against liberalizing its drug laws, blaming much of the high-strength marijuana on U.S. streets on Canadian pot growers and smugglers.

But the Canadian government has been emboldened by justice department opinion polls showing the percentage of public support for decriminalization "in the high 70s."

The move is also supported by the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Chiefs of Police, and by the recommendations of two parliamentary committees last year.

One, a special Commons committee, called for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. The other, a Senate committee, urged that possession of small amounts of pot be legalized.

Chr?tien, the source said, has long supported decriminalization, but in the nearly 30 years since the Le Dain commission urged liberalization of marijuana laws, has watched politicians avoid acting because of the "political heat" the issue generates.

"Who better to tackle this issue now than this Prime Minister?"

Another government source said Justice Minister Martin Cauchon has faced an uphill battle to persuade fellow cabinet ministers John Manley, who is responsible for border concerns, Health Minister Anne McLellan, and Solicitor-General Wayne Easter to support the initiative.

Sources acknowledge there is a public health perspective to the debate inside cabinet.

"Marijuana is a harmful substance. There are the same concerns one has with tobacco; the impairment of driving skills ? that's definitely a concern," a source said. "But ... we're looking at taking steps that would in fact discourage the use in a way where no discouragement occurs now, except in cases where a penalty that is more severe than the harm is applied."

Note: Government source says bill coming in June.

Newshawk: Druid
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Author: Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa Bureau
Published: April 18, 2003
Copyright: 2003 The Toronto Star
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/


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Invisiblechodamunky
Cheers!

Registered: 02/28/02
Posts: 2,030
Loc: sailing the seas of chees...
Re: (Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms [Re: trendal]
    #1485539 - 04/23/03 11:08 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

woohooo! 2 more months and millions of pot smokers across Canada can take a long deep breath of relief (and weed smoke of course)


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OfflineDogomush
Barbless Aryan

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 1,286
Loc: The Canadian west coast
Last seen: 11 years, 8 months
Re: (Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms [Re: chodamunky]
    #1489457 - 04/24/03 02:45 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

nah this is crap... worse than before. Now instead of just getting your stash confiscated they're going to lay a $500 fine too. It's bullshit.


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OfflineDogomush
Barbless Aryan

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 1,286
Loc: The Canadian west coast
Last seen: 11 years, 8 months
Re: (Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms [Re: Dogomush]
    #1489524 - 04/24/03 02:59 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Yet regardless of any changes to the law which may come during the next few months, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on all aspects of pot prohibition this spring. Their ruling, which could potentially strike down all of Canada's laws against pot cultivation and sales, is expected to come about six months later.

THIS is what we gotta watch and pray for. The supreme court is the only legal entity capable of saving us now. Man it's exciting. Within a year things will be very different.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 19,376
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: (Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms [Re: Dogomush]
    #1489869 - 04/24/03 04:32 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Yeah the Supreme Court cases coming up are what I've been waiting for, too.

Imagine they find prohibition to be in violation of the Constitution  :smile: :smile: :smile:


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineGratefulDread
Never pass up anopportunity topee.

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 366
Last seen: 12 years, 2 months
Re: (Canada) Liberals Plan Pot Law Reforms [Re: trendal]
    #1492040 - 04/25/03 05:28 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I live in New Brunswick Canada about 30 minutes outside St John and thought you might be interested in this news item....

Pot cafe in N.B. inspires Montreal activists

By: John McFarlane, Montreal Gazette, 04/06/03

Saint John shop lets patrons light up. Leader of Bloc Pot party says he aims to open a boutique by 2007 that sells marijuana here.

The Gazette Montreal advocates of marijuana legalization say recent national developments can only help local efforts to legalize weed.

On April 1, a Nova Scotia court became the third in Canada to throw out marijuana possession laws. Two days later, a Saint John, N.B., cafe that allows customers to smoke marijuana opened to the public.

"This opens a door in Quebec," said Dylan Maxwell, owner of the Je l'ai boutique, a Duluth Ave. store specializing in hemp products and pot-related paraphernalia. "It's another question whether someone would (open a similar cafe here). You can only make money selling coffee at these places." Selling marijuana is still illegal.

Montreal had an underground cannabis cafe in the 80s, said Maxwell, which was shut soon after it decided to operate in the open. But things have changed considerably since then.

"The difference now is that there is no more Canadian possession law," Maxwell said.

The pro-marijuana crowd has traditionally had a hard time finding respect. The media are often all too eager to trot out hackneyed gags about memory loss and snack-food cravings, rather than noting the genuine progress made by the movement, such as recent court decisions.

The Bloc Pot is fielding candidates in nearly half of Quebec's ridings in the provincial election. And in the 2000 federal election, the Montreal-headquartered Marijuana Party took 0.5 per cent of the total national vote and one per cent of the total in Quebec.

Bloc Pot leader Hugo St-Onge said he hopes to open at least one marijuana cafe in Montreal within four years - one that will go further than New Brunswick's "user-friendly" establishment and actually sell weed.

Maxwell said he was surprised - pleasantly surprised - that the pioneer establishment of the current era of de facto decriminalization sprouted up in New Brunswick, given that Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto are considered more marijuana-friendly.


--------------------
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.


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