Pot Limits for Possession May Be Cut By One-Third

Pot Limits for Possession May Be Cut By One-Third
Posted by CN Staff on October 09, 2003 at 07:37:41 PT
By Kim Lunman
Source: Globe and Mail 
Ottawa -- The federal government is seriously considering changing its controversial legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession by reducing the amount that would result in criminal charges to 10 grams from 15 grams.A government source said yesterday that Ottawa, under pressure from the provinces and territories to change the legislation, is amenable to reducing the amount as the Cannabis Reform Bill comes before the House of Commons for debate for the first time today.
The original bill, tabled in May, called for decriminalizing the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana, while allowing for fines of $100 for people under 18 caught with that amount, and $150 for adults.But there has been concern expressed about how much marijuana should be considered as possession for personal use, leading officials to contemplate reducing the amount specified in the bill by one-third.The government is also contemplating other changes to toughen the bill, such as adding penalties for repeat offenders and mandatory jail sentences for growers.The bill is to be sent today to a special parliamentary committee, one that issued a report on illicit drugs earlier this year, before it comes back for a second reading in the House.Asked yesterday if the government is considering amending the bill, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said: "We'll see what the committee will say."Possession of marijuana now carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.The government's bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana has brought criticism from the U.S. government and has led to threats that such a policy could lead to a tightening of the world's longest undefended border.But the Liberal government wants to push ahead with its plans before the end of the year."Cannabis reform is an important reform," Mr. Cauchon said. "And we believe that in proceeding, the special committee, they already have the experience and that way we might be able to proceed with [the bill] faster."House Leader Don Boudria said the bill will be referred to the committee today and could be voted on before the end of the session."The bill at this time, it is certainly possible to have it done . . . before Christmas," he said. "It's up to the committee."The special parliamentary committee on the use of non-medical drugs went even further than the government in its report, recommending decriminalization for the possession and cultivation of up to 30 grams of cannabis for personal use."The committee knows exactly what we're talking about," Mr. Cauchon said."To refer it back to that committee to me is just normal."Under the bill, possession of one gram or less of cannabis resin, the more powerful hashish or hashish oil, would result in fines of $200 for youths and $300 for adults.Aggravating factors, such as possession while driving, or while committing an indictable offence, or possession in or near schools, would result in fines of $400 for adults and $250 for youths.Proponents of change in drug laws say that nearly one-third of Canadians have admitted using marijuana, and argue that it makes sense to redirect policing resources to the investigation and prosecution of more serious crimes.Last year, a Senate report called on Ottawa to legalize and regulate the distribution of marijuana.Canadian Alliance MP Kevin Sorenson accused the government of trying to water down the bill to get it passed before Prime Minister Jean Chrétien retires.Most Canadian Alliance MPs support decriminalizing marijuana possession in amounts of five grams or less.The New Democratic Party is calling for the legalization of marijuana."Anything that backs away from decriminalization, we'd be concerned about that," NDP Leader Jack Layton said.Note: Provinces, territories said urging caution as Chrétien government works to pass bill.Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Kim LunmanPublished: Thursday, October 9, 2003 - Page A10 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links To Speed Bill Easing Pot Laws Move To Fast-Track Passage of MJ Bill Move To Fast-Track Marijuana Bill 
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Comment #18 posted by Virgil on October 11, 2003 at 19:26:06 PT
Comment17-Pot-tv for Oct 10
All the signs of democracy gone rabid are here. Marc Emery did the Pot-tv show for October 10th and he speaks of the heavy hand of Warshington being in Canadian politics. He says all the police cars in Vancouver have American flags on them. It is a show where he addresses the upcoming legislation and says the fight is now. I would say this is the best Pot-tv show I have seen and I have seen most of them in the last two years.You know the old expression "No news is good news." In today’s climate it has double entendre. There is no news that is good news. It is really sad and a doobie is about the only thing to provide relief today and it is illegal and expensive. I guess they have to modify the expression, “If it is good, it is either illegal or fattening.” Be sure and change the or to and when applying illegal and expensive.
Pot-tv for October 10, 2003
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on October 11, 2003 at 18:55:33 PT
News Article from Snipped Source
Martin Wants To Toughen Marijuana Law Ottawa - Paul Martin is putting his political weight behind amendments that would toughen the government's marijuana bill.The prime-minister-in-waiting would "be more comfortable" with the proposed legislation if the government came down harder on marijuana growers, traffickers and repeat offenders, Scott Reid, a spokesman for Mr. Martin, said yesterday."There are rumours that the government may be thinking about toughening up the penalties and if that were the direction that were taken, he would be very pleased with that," Mr. Reid said. "It would conform to his perspective."Although Jean Chrétien is trying to fast-track the marijuana legislation so that it passes this fall, even Liberals doubt it will clear the necessary hurdles in time, meaning it could be Mr. Martin's to deal with when he becomes prime minister in February.The government's proposed bill would decriminalize marijuana possession for users caught with less than 15 grams, but instead fine them $100 to $400. Conversely, there would be an array of penalties to counter an escalation in marijuana grow houses run by organized crime, with the maximum sentence being doubled to 14 years.Martin Cauchon, the Justice Minister, is considering several amendments, including a minimum mandatory sentence for people convicted of running marijuana growing operations. Critics say judges routinely impose sentences of six months to one year for the most serious offenders.The government may also lower the amount of pot that would escape criminal charges to 10 grams from the proposed 15 grams, and impose criminal sanctions instead of fines on repeat offenders.Mr. Reid said Mr. Martin supports decriminalization, but he would not shed light on the amount of marijuana the future prime minister thinks should result in criminal charges."He doesn't feel comfortable with determining what that amount should be because he is not an expert in that area. It's got to be clearly an amount that is for nothing but personal use."In the past, Mr. Martin has only said that he supports decriminalization of "very, very, very small amounts."Several Liberal backbenchers, along with the Canadian Alliance, say it should be criminal to possess more than five grams -- about five cigarettes."Do you really need to carry more than that on you?" asked Randy White, Alliance MP for the B.C. riding of Langley-Abbotsford.The government has given the bill to a special committee to hold public hearings on the legislation before writing a report for Parliament.Mr. Reid said Mr. Martin supports the government's approach "by and large." But there has been wide speculation that the decriminalization component will be reviewed as Mr. Martin tries to repair Canada's troubled relationship with the United States.In Washington yesterday, White House drug czar John Walters underlined that pressure, accusing the Canadian government of "1970s-era thinking on marijuana."This week, he said Canadians are ashamed of Mr. Chrétien for joking about smoking a joint after he retires."It would be regrettable if our Canadian neighbours continued down a path that relies on 1970s-era thinking on marijuana, rather than on what we have learned after 30-plus years of research and heart-wrenching addiction," Mr. Walters, the director of the White House's National Drug Control Policy Office, said in a statement.Saturday, October 11, 2003Copyright: 2003 National PostSnipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #16 posted by Max Flowers on October 10, 2003 at 10:34:26 PT
Sorry Jose, I jumped the gun
I posted real fast without reading your post carefully, was too excited I guess. As to your suggestion, that would be nice, but would never happen, don't you think?MF
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Comment #15 posted by Max Flowers on October 10, 2003 at 10:32:12 PT
Prosecutors do criminal, not civil
The idea is a huge civil suit. The objective would be to create added pressure to address the injustices of cannabis prohibition and demand that congress deal with the matter and face its sordid history, and the side effect will be huge publicity and a ssurge in national awareness of the issue. I doubt that it would be a good idea to demand monetary compensation and punitive damages or any of that, because obviously, the country can't afford it for one thing, but also, the goal is a change in the laws, not paying people. We just need a high-profile attorney to do it pro bono or something similar. Their desire, I imagine, would be for the historical/publicity benefits.Marc Emery couldn't be involved as he's Canadian and this is an American lawsuit.Anyone know someone? Or how do we get this idea in front of some really huge law firms?
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Comment #14 posted by Jose Melendez on October 10, 2003 at 09:20:53 PT
Too bad we can't just use regular prosecutors.
I'm all for a class action lawsuit, but isn't there a way we could get prosecutors to just do their jobs and classify prohibtion as an industry under the R.I.C.O. act?
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Comment #13 posted by Arthropod on October 10, 2003 at 07:52:52 PT
A class action suit
I'd be there.
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Comment #12 posted by the greener on October 10, 2003 at 06:58:58 PT:
Class action suit
Man, I really think you've got something here. With prohibition teatering on the verge of it's demise, a giant public display of disapproval and resistance(mind you a very organized, obiedient resistance)coupled with astout legal minds sounds like the right way to go, considered Mark Emery?
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Comment #11 posted by ekim on October 09, 2003 at 20:05:00 PT
jose good one sent it to many
man keep it up --everyonehere is alive and well --seems there is a full moon tonight. thanks to all here.
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Comment #10 posted by Max Flowers on October 09, 2003 at 17:19:52 PT
Massive class action lawsuit against the feds!
Bear with me, I'm on a roll today but I think I just came up with a fantastic idea.Why don't we create a huge, historical class action lawsuit against the federal government for all its abuse related to cannabis prohibition? The timing is perfect---disgust with the feds is higher than ever, the medical cannabis issue grows daily in its profile, more an more of us getting angry, and there is an incredibly huge pool of plaintiffs all over the country who I believe would sign on. The media would have a field day with it, and might gain ground just as the Bush 2004 scampaign is building up speed (or trying to).The range of causes of action that could be applied is broad and the list as long as my arm: unreasonable searches and seizures, wrongful appropriations of property, abuses of power under color of authority, DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION, CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, the list goes on and on. Just think how many thousands upon thousands of drug war victims would relish (I sure hope, anyway) a chance to do something about it, and make history doing it. If we can have a class action suit against tobacco companies, surely we could have one by the people against the federal government for this.I wonder if there is an attorney firm anywhere in the country who has the nerve to work this... HUGE publicity for your firm guys, think about it...MF
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 16:22:04 PT
Maybe They'll Make It 5 Grams
Then people will need a magnifying glass and tweezers to find it! Just kidding but it is unreal what is going on. Our State: Less than 100 grams -- civil citation -- $100 
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Comment #8 posted by Commonsense on October 09, 2003 at 15:57:23 PT
What's the big deeal over a couple of grams?
Why are these people make such a big issue over whether 5 grams, 10 grams or 15 grams is allowed? So now they'll compromise and go for 10 grams? What's the big deal over a few joints difference? I just don't get it. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 15:17:33 PT
Related Article from The Canadian Press
Federal Government May Toughen Marijuana Bill To Appease CriticsBy Jim BrownThu, October 9, 2003  
OTTAWA (CP) - The Liberal government sent cautious signals Thursday that it may agree to toughen some provisions of its marijuana decriminalization bill in response to domestic critics. But Justice Minister Martin Cauchon stood fast against harsher attacks from south of the border, rejecting claims by John Walters, the U.S. drug czar, that Canada's approach is out of step with the rest of the hemisphere. The double-barrelled message came as the Liberals moved to fast-track legislation that would eliminate the threat of jail terms and criminal records for anyone in possession of 15 grams or less of pot. "The government is listening and willing to consider amendments to ensure we get it right," Cauchon told the House of Commons. He did not elaborate, but senior sources say the justice minister is prepared to look at lowering the possession limit to 10 grams, in the hope of winning over dissident Liberal backbenchers and some provincial justice ministers who have been critical of the bill. He is also reportedly willing to consider tougher penalties for repeat offenders and minimum mandatory prison terms for people involved in marijuana grow operations. Cauchon bristled, however, when Walters delivered a speech in Washington describing Canada as "the once place in the hemisphere where things are going the wrong way." The White House director of drug policy has previously suggested decriminalization of pot could cause problems at the U.S. border, as American customs officers step up their searches of tourists and commercial traffic. "He should maybe look in his own backyard," Cauchon retorted, noting that more than 10 U.S. states have eliminated criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana. "If it's not correct to move in that direction, maybe he should start spending some time talking to his own states." 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 11:59:39 PT
A Question
I was wondering if anyone has been in contact with afterburner. He has been gone for quite a while now and I just want to know he is ok. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 10:53:06 PT
Our state seems like one of the best. 
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Comment #4 posted by Jose Melendez on October 09, 2003 at 08:36:08 PT
on Pot-tv, Mark Emery is fighting the appeals court ruling on the grounds that once the law has been nullified, judges cannot reinstate that law, that only the legislature has the capacity to make laws. That seems correct especially when you consider they are trying to fast track decrim, which we all know is really recrim, since the law no longer exists. Of course, I am biased, so I did a few searches to prove my point, or at least glean some better understanding, I recognise that Canadian law is not US law, but perhaps this will help: Under Civil Law, there are two ways to argue your case when you want to persuade a judge to rule your way. One is called "precedent authority," and the other is called "persuasive authority." Under precedent authority, using the principle of stare decisis (to adhere to decided cases), means that the court is compelled to uphold the earlier decision if there is nothing unique or different from the one being decided. If the earlier decision was a U.S. supreme Court case, that case is the binding authority on all courts in this country. Under persuasive authority, as a general rule, the higher the court, the more persuasive its opinion. In the absence of a precedent case, a case may be considered persuasive authority by many out-of-state courts, although the case may not be binding outside of the state in which it was decided.I did a few searches for "law no longer exists" and came up with a misspelled legal term on a page, which google corrected and I found this on: But in these cases, the powers of the legislature to amend are always expressly based upon the theory that the people, in initiating legislation, are merely exercising the legislative function which for ordinary occasions they have delegated to the legislature. Ratione cessante, cessat ipsa lex. A convention act, not being within the legislative function,11 it is not so amendable. In fact, as the extralegislative power which the legislature has to frame a convention act exists only ex necessitate,12 it is probable that this power does not exist in States which have adopted the initiative and referendum. Thus neither the cases cited by Jameson, nor the more modern cases arising under the initiative and referendum are authority for the proposition that the legislature can amend a convention act.The author has been unable to find any authorities which express an opinion that the legislature may amend a convention act, if originally enacted by the people; and it is possible that, in the cases in which legislatures have actually amended convention acts, they have proceeded upon the theory that such acts were not enacted by the people, rather than upon the theory that, although the people had enacted them, the legislature could amend them. Even when the legislature has passed the original convention act after the popular vote authorizing the convention, it is arguable that the people choose the legislature as their agent for the special extralegislative purpose of framing the convention act,13 and that when this purpose is fulfilled, the legislature becomes quoad hoc, functus officio. In plain English, the job being completed, the legislature has no further powers in that connection.Not satisfied yet with either source or clarity, I added the term "college" to the search term "cessat ipsa lex" and came up with: ratione, cessat ipsa lex - where the reason for the rule ceases, the rule also ceases.[1] Twentieth century American case law contains numerous court holdings that recognize the maxim that once society no longer embraces a particular public policy objective, the associated rule must be reworked or eliminated.[2] To sustain the vitality of our legal system, scholars [page 843] and judges must continually scrutinize legal doctrine and propose changes when public policy warrants it.[3] See  Lief H. Carter, When Courts Should Make Policy: An Institutional Approach, in PUBLIC LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY 141, 141-55 (John A. Gardiner ed., 1977) (highlighting the public policy objectives underlying various landmark Supreme Court rulings of the early 1970s); William T. Gossett, Balances and Controls in Private Policy and Decision-Making, in LAW IN A CHANGING AMERICA 26, 26-27 (1968). Gossett states: One's "vision of the law changes with the changing facts of life -- the perceptions, fears and aspirations by which the consensus of the nation assigns priorities to the basic purposes of the law. ...There is a silent consent ... as to the direction in which they are moving, the uneasiness that they experience and the restraints that they feel; and these things are spelled out in law-making, decision-making, and rule-making. ..." Id. Similarly, judges understand that the law must evolve. Numerous opinions reflect this understanding. Justice Jacobs wrote one of the most eloquent opinions in Schipper v. Levitt & Sons, Inc., 207 A.2d 314 (N.J. 1965): 
The law should be based on current concepts of what is right and just and the judiciary should be alert to the never-ending need for keeping its common law principles abreast of the times. Ancient distinctions which make no sense in today's society and tend to discredit the law should be readily rejected. ... Id. at 325.Now, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the terminology, but I thought I'd throw some chum in the waters for you legal types out there.Also, if you havent already, download realplayer (free) and watch today's pot-tv news. Loretta Nall publicly and credibly disputes the contention by Luis Arreaga, the U.S.  consul general for British Columbia. There's a clip of this guy who, to be fair, looks a bit nervous in front of TV cameras for what was supposed to be a "private meeting"That said, stuttering with a heavy, broken spanglish accent that U.S.  government research shows a link between long-term brain damage and marijuana use made me think the gentleman might have chugged a few too many funnels in college. If you actually see this clip, keep in mind that there is ample evidence alcohol causes brain damage. Also, consider that the only proven links to cannabis and brain damage show that cannabinoids actually have neuroprotective properties, and much of the U.S. funded research showing any harm unrelated to smoking or prohibition itself has been soundly refuted.see also:
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Comment #3 posted by WolfgangWylde on October 09, 2003 at 08:34:06 PT
FoM, I live in Ohio...
...which has the same law. 100 grams = $100 fine. And of course, in my 20 odd years of smoking I've never even had to deal with that. I'm sure Canadian politicians are aware of this, but are ignoring it at the behest of their U.S. masters.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 09, 2003 at 08:22:43 PT
10 grams
That is so small an amount. This is our states laws.Less than 100 grams -- civil citation -- $100
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Comment #1 posted by WolfgangWylde on October 09, 2003 at 08:17:21 PT
This is all going... turn out to be one big cluster that doesn't even begin to address the problem (and make no mistake, PROHBITION is the problem).
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