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Registered: 12/18/02
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Marijuana possession: 15 grams, $100 fine
    #1545445 - 05/13/03 04:27 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)


Marijuana possession: 15 grams, $100 fine
Proposed penalty equivalent to a speeding ticket

Janice Tibbetts

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The federal government is considering fining small-time marijuana users as little as $100 under decriminalization legislation that is expected to be introduced Thursday.

Sources say the amount, equivalent to a low-level speeding ticket, was still under discussion yesterday as Justice Department officials scrambled to put the finishing touches on their bill. The fine would be handed to people caught with less than 15 grams of marijuana.

People caught with more than 15 grams would still be subject to a criminal record that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Small-time users would be governed by the non-criminal Contraventions Act, a little-used act that controls such things as driving on federal wharves and abandoning vessels in a public harbour.

The anticipated penalty for marijuana possession would fall short of the current maximum fine under the act of $500.

The amount of marijuana to be decriminalized is only half the amount recommended by a special House of Commons committee on illicit drugs.

The Commons committee had proposed criminal sanctions be lifted for less than 30 grams. The Justice Department had indicated it would accept the recommendation, but suddenly retreated in recent weeks.

A particular concern is the growing prevalence of B.C. bud, a potent strain of marijuana that put Canada for the first time this year on a White House list of countries of concern in the war on drugs.

The United States has been pressing Canada to abandon its decriminalization plan, warning that it would lead to delays at the border.

The watered-down bill will include stiffer penalties for drug traffickers and people caught with marijuana grow operations.

To underline the point, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon will present his plan to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft today.

Mr. Cauchon is expected to stress that marijuana will remain illegal and Canada will toughen penalties substantially for marijuana-growing operations. He already described the plan briefly to Mr. Ashcroft last week at a Paris meeting of justice ministers of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, but today's meeting will give a fuller explanation. The legislation will be accompanied by a renewed national drug strategy, that will put millions of dollars into drug prevention, education, and treatment.

Mr. Cauchon said in the Commons yesterday the government has no intention of legalizing marijuana.

Solicitor General Wayne Easter said the message Canada is trying to send to Americans -- and Canadians -- is drugs are dangerous and people caught with anything but small amounts of marijuana will be treated harshly.

"There is some work to be done here, no doubt about that, but we will be coming out with a package that we believe the Americans will certainly understand where we're at as well as Canadians," Mr. Easter said yesterday.

"I think the key is there is certainly a lot of concern about marijuana grow operations, about people trafficking, about people being penalized with small amounts and having a criminal record that affects them for so much of their lives."

Randy White, a Canadian Alliance MP and vocal critic of the federal drug policy, opposes decriminalization.

He said he believes the government's plan will fail because judges will be reluctant to hand criminal records to people caught with 16 grams and minor fines to those possessing 14 grams.

Mr. White said the government's fines should increase with the offence, so that people caught for the second and third times would be given heftier tickets than first-time offenders.


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Registered: 02/28/02
Posts: 2,030
Loc: sailing the seas of chees...
Re: Marijuana possession: 15 grams, $100 fine [Re: motaman]
    #1545658 - 05/13/03 05:41 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

The only retarded thing is that growers will be treated more harshly then ever before. What if you are growing for personal use with no intention to sell?

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Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 3,676
Loc: Canadia
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Re: Marijuana possession: 15 grams, $100 fine [Re: chodamunky]
    #1546892 - 05/14/03 01:10 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

how does the goverment expect people to get the weed, if growers are treated more harshly???

One of the reasons marijuana is illegal today because growers in the 30s lobbied against hemp farmers -- they saw it as competition, because It is not chemically addictive as is nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine.

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