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A new hope in Canada

 
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Ska_Pastora
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Posts: 105
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:54 am    Post subject: A new hope in Canada Reply with quote

Martin promises to revive pot bill

CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Paul Martin says he'll press ahead with legislation, first proposed under Jean Chrétien, to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
But he hinted he'd like to see the legislation toughened and invited a parliamentary committee to consider amendments on several points, including lowering the limit for non-criminal possession from the currrent proposal of 15 grams.

Martin said today that he sees a health risk in pot use and observed that "any doctor will tell you it's far from the best thing for you."

However, he insisted that it achieves "absolutely nothing to give a criminal record to young people caught with minimal amounts."

The bill brought in under Chrétien, which died on the House of Commons order paper last month, will be reintroduced when MPs return to work in the new year, Martin said.

He suggested some changes are in the works: "I think that one's got to take a look at the fines. I think that you have to take a look the quantities, and I think that there has to be a larger effort against the grow-ops and against those who distribute."

The Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule next week on whether the current marijuana law violates the Charter of Rights by mandating criminal penalties, including potential jail time, for simple possession.

Martin's comments signalled that - even if the high court upholds the constitutionality of the present regime - he will move to reform it anyway.

The bill tabled last spring by then-justice minister Martin Cauchon did not propose outright legalization of marijuana. But it made simple possession a minor offence, punishable by a range of fines, somewhat like traffic violations.

Cauchon denied the government was going soft on drugs, pointing out that the legislation maintained or increased the already stiff jail terms for illicit growers and traffickers.

Nevertheless, the bill provoked the ire of hardliners in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

John Walters, the White house director of drug policy, complained Canada was out of step with the rest of the western hemisphere.

Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, warned of long lineups at border points as American customs officers scrutinize visitors from the north.

There was also opposition to the bill from backbench Liberal MPs, many of them well-known supporters of Martin's bid for the party leadership.

Cauchon, who was dropped from cabinet last week, had tried to dampen the criticism by opening the door to possible amendments, including:

- Lowering the limit for non-criminal possession to 10 grams of marijuana.

- Increasing fines for repeat offenders. The original bill provided for penalties of between $100 and $400, depending on whether the offender was a juvenile or an adult.

- Ensuring illicit growers will do jail time and not be let off with conditional sentences. The bill had already proposed to double the maximum sentence for growers to 14 years from the current seven, but critics say judges rarely impose the maximum and too often let offenders off with probation or community service.


Personally, this is a great day!
When Jean Chrétien first proposed this bill, many warned that it may die before he retired... and, it did.
And with Paul Martin taking over, I didnt think that he saw eye to eye with Jean on the issue (as has been the case with many federall issues). But, with his promise to Canadians, I feel like a new day has come in Canada... its not where we want to be, but were closer than ever!

take it easy
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Rev. Chazman
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 15 Nov 2003
Posts: 1117
Location: Illinois - USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beat me to it Very Happy

Peace
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Ska_Pastora
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister


Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Posts: 105
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry chaz Cool
but this is an issue that touches close to home
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