Justice Ministers Debate Pot Law

Justice Ministers Debate Pot Law
Posted by CN Staff on September 30, 2003 at 08:55:16 PT
By Michelle Macafee, Canadian Press 
Source: Canadian Press 
La Malbaie, Que. -- Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon met with his provincial counterparts on Tuesday and prepared to square off with them over Ottawa's plans to decriminalize marijuana. Cauchon, who put the item on the agenda for the two-day meeting, faces opposition from provincial ministers who want to give other issues greater priority. Cauchon said he's sticking to his plan to have the bill passed before Prime Minister Jean Chretien retires. 
"We've been talking about that over the last three decades," Cauchon said before entering the meeting. "It's about time we do something as a country." Cauchon said his plan does not take away from the Liberal government's other justice priorities, including tougher child pornography legislation. But Alberta Justice Minister David Hancock said there is consensus among his fellow provincial ministers that the focus should be on a get-tough approach to crime - ranging from restrictions on conditional sentences, tougher measures to deal with child exploitation, and automatic first-degree murder charges in child killings. Decriminalization of marijuana doesn't make the short list. "From Alberta's perspective, that's not on the radar screen as a priority," said Hancock. "I'm not sure why it comes up ahead of other things that are more important to us, more important I think to other provinces across the country." If Cauchon insists on pushing ahead with the legislation this fall, Canadians need to understand the law is about "process change" and is not an endorsement of drug use, Hancock said. There were a few notable absentees on Tuesday. Ontario Justice Minister Norm Sterling is busy campaigning for Thursday's election, while Kevin Parsons is getting his re-election bid off the ground in Newfoundland after an election was called Monday for Oct. 21. Prince Edward Island's Jeff Lantz did not seek re-election in Monday's vote in his province, but is attending the meeting on behalf of the government. Source: Canadian Press Author: Michelle Macafee, Canadian PressPublished: September 30, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Canadian PressRelated Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Marijuana Reform: Provinces Leaning on US To Halt Marijuana Bill
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 01, 2003 at 08:24:38 PT
News Article from Snipped Source
Province Pans Federal Stance on Pot BillOpposition groups should be consulted first: solicitor general 
Tom Barrett, with files from Janice Tibbets, CanWest News Service  
The Edmonton Journal Wednesday, October 01, 2003 
EDMONTON - Alberta Solicitor General Heather Forsyth says she's frustrated with the federal government's refusal to budge or consult others on the decriminalization of marijuana possession.Forsyth believes decriminalization is inconsistent with the federal position that organized crime increasingly controls the grow operations and sale of the drug in this country."To me there is a serious disconnect in their logic. Why say it's a very serious offence to grow it or sell it, but it's OK to smoke it?" she asked Tuesday, after discussing the issue at a conference of federal and provincial ministers in Quebec.She said she asked federal officials to consult with high-profile organizations that oppose decriminalization, such as the Canadian Police Association. But after Tuesday's talks it is clear the government will go ahead with plans to remove possession of small amounts of marijuana from the Criminal Code of Canada, she said."We all know that this is tied to organized crime and we have a huge problem with organized crime in this country."B.C is finding some of their marijuana is laced with cocaine and heroin and the province is becoming known as the Colombia of the north," she said.Alberta, Ontario and Quebec also have serious problems with the expansion of large-scale marijuana grow operations.Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon did promise Tuesday to take "a serious look" at toughening his bill to decriminalize marijuana so that Canadians who are repeatedly caught possessing pot will be criminally charged rather than ticketed.The federal minister offered the concession at the urging of his provincial counterparts, most of whom, like Forsyth, oppose marijuana decriminalization and want Ottawa to abandon the proposed legislation."The question of repeat offenders has been raised. If it happens two, three, or four times, what are we going to do," Cauchon said. "If we can do something with that question of repeat offenders, we'll have a serious look at it."The legislation, which Cauchon hopes to pass before Christmas, proposes to decriminalize possession of 15 grams or less so that people would be fined from $100 to $400 instead of being criminally charged. Police estimate that is the equivalent of about 15 joints. Copyright: 2003 Edmonton JournalSnipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #2 posted by Kegan on September 30, 2003 at 15:29:37 PT
But it is ALREADY legal........
Okay - dudes - ........ it is legal already. A new bill would make it ILLEGAL again, and why should we do that?
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Comment #1 posted by WolfgangWylde on September 30, 2003 at 11:07:49 PT
The best possible outcome...
...of all this is for the decrim bill to die. The courts are legalizing provincially, and with no national decrim in sight, the Supreme Court is more likely to legalize completely.
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