Police Advised To Delay Pot Possession Charges

Police Advised To Delay Pot Possession Charges
Posted by CN Staff on June 05, 2003 at 19:36:48 PT
By The Canadian Press
Source: Toronto Star 
Police in Ontario are being advised to no longer lay charges for simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams until the law is clarified by either the courts or the federal government. "We're asking the chiefs basically to advise their officers to show discretion when they're dealing with these things," Tom Kaye, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, said today.
"If it's under 30 grams, process them in accordance with your department's policy procedure, lob the drugs in the vault, do up all the paperwork that would be required and then wait until we see what's going to happen from the appeals court. " Although officers have been advised not to lay charges, Kaye said that doesn't mean Ontario residents can openly carry marijuana without fear of being arrested. "These individuals may well be charged down the road," he said. Police are being told to process people found in possession of marijuana, then keep the incident on record. Charges would depend on the outcome of a Department of Justice appeal of a Superior Court ruling last month that the existing possession law is no longer valid. On May 16, a Windsor judge ruled that possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana is no longer against the law in Ontario. Justice Department spokesman Jim Leising said today a motion to stay that decision will be made in the Ontario Court of Appeal, perhaps as early as Tuesday. If the motion is passed, the existing pot laws would be enforceable pending the appeal. "We're appealing it because we think there is a valid prohibition against possessing marijuana," Leising said. "We essentially agree that the law is in a state of confusion at the moment, and we need to have some clarity and certainty." The Justice Department will also file a motion to expedite the appeal. "We're ready to go as soon as the court says they'll hear us," Leising said. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police said the interim decision to not lay charges is a reaction to unclear messages from the courts and the federal government. "What we're finding, in some cases, the courts are either adjourning the matters until either the appeal court has been heard, but in other ones they're actually just throwing the charges out," Kaye said. "At this stage of the game we're kind of wondering where this exactly is going." Last week, the federal government tabled legislation that would continue to make possession of marijuana illegal. However, someone caught with less than 15 grams would be fined instead of receiving a criminal record. "We have a huge concern with that legislation," Kaye said. ``Despite the federal government's assertion that it's business as usual, it's not business as usual in the province of Ontario if we can't get the courts onside." But Leising said the Justice Department doesn't believe what's happening in the courts is related to Ottawa's move to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. "They're being a little bit disingenuous," Leising said of the police. "This was just a technical point taken by the judge in Windsor long before decriminalization came down. The two issues aren't really related." Toronto police indicated today they would heed the new directives. "Police . . . will not lay charges of simple possession," Chief Julian Fantino said in a release. "Rather, they will seize the marijuana and fully document the incident with a view to laying a charge following clarification of the law by the Court of Appeal or Parliament." Fantino said the court decisions and proposed legislation have left police officers "in a position of uncertainty to whether simple possession of marijuana is an offence at all." Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)Published: June 05, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Toronto Star Contact: lettertoed Website: Related Articles & Web Sites:Cannabis News Canadian Links Steven Rogin -- Judgment Going To Pot Laws Ban Possession of Marijuana Legal in Ontario
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Comment #7 posted by TroutMask on June 06, 2003 at 06:57:47 PT
Last Supper
LOL! That last supper picture is hilarious. Thanks for that!-TM
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Comment #6 posted by Treeanna on June 06, 2003 at 06:52:15 PT
Ok, so let me get this straight...
The lawman in this story is telling police to "detain" people and steal their belongings without a crime being committed, but to save the paperwork in case the activity becomes a crime later?Sounds like a herd of lawsuits on the hoof.Doesn't Canada have anything like false arrest and ex post facto prohibitions?
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 06, 2003 at 05:29:50 PT:
Chief Fantino, cruisin' for a bruisin'...
You'd think they'd have figured it out by now that cops ARE ACTUALLY BEING LET OFF THE HOOK!That's right, the police have actually had their burdens lightened by this. No more do they have to ruin anyone's life. No more do they have spend hours on paperwork or show up in court...for a simple cannabis possession charge.So, if there are no laws governing cannabis in Ontario right now, then how can Chief Fantino feel justified in taking someone's stash? Particularly with an eye to punishing that person later for something that is *not a crime now*?The Chief might find himself in the docket one day if he tries this stunt...
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on June 06, 2003 at 05:23:11 PT:
The Last Supper became the victory feast
How apt. :)
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on June 05, 2003 at 21:32:15 PT
both of those pics are nice.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 05, 2003 at 21:11:06 PT
No Bullet Proof Vest ! LOL!
Did you see the cover of the San Francisco Examiner for today? Check it out!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on June 05, 2003 at 20:54:23 PT
Is that a bullet proof vest on that 
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