Police Chiefs Slam `Flawed' Pot Bill

Police Chiefs Slam `Flawed' Pot Bill
Posted by CN Staff on November 04, 2003 at 08:06:06 PT
By Tonda Maccharles, Ottawa Bureau
Source: Toronto Star 
Ottawa — A unified front of Canada's police chiefs and rank-and-file officers called on Prime Minister Jean Chrétien yesterday to kill what they said is a "seriously flawed" marijuana decriminalization bill.The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Professional Police Association, joined by representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), condemned the Liberal government's effort to fast-track the bill that would soften penalties for simple marijuana possession offences.
"I think we would be better without it than with it in its present form," Toronto deputy police chief Mike Boyd, who also chairs the chiefs' drug-abuse committee, told a hearing of the special parliamentary committee studying the bill.Critics on the other side of the issue — those who support greater liberalization of marijuana laws — also slammed the bill and said the status quo would be preferable to what's now being rushed through Parliament as a piece of Chrétien's "legacy" agenda.Eugene Oscapella, of the Canadian Foundation for a Drug Policy, said the government is afraid of political fallout and has skirted the real problem — that criminal prohibition of pot creates the black market that fuels the profits of organized crime and terrorist organizations.`I think we would be better without it (the bill) than with it in its present form.' - Mike Boyd, Toronto deputy police chief"I think the bill in its present form should die. I would much rather rely on the courts in this country to provide a better solution and depoliticize the issue," said Oscapella. The combined assault on the bill may not block its passage through a special Commons committee, which is expected to finish its report late tomorrow.But there are real questions now about whether it will pass the final two Commons votes, and Senate examination, before Parliament rises, or another election is held.The reality is the federal government is running out of time and allies to push its bill forward, and the Supreme Court of Canada may well be left to decide the issue, because a judgment is pending on three challenges to the country's pot laws heard in May. The national police chiefs association once supported a more lenient approach to simple possession offences, but now says it opposes the pot bill because it takes away police discretion to lay charges for small amounts of marijuana — an option police say is needed to deter traffickers and repeat offenders.The proposed law would impose tickets and fines from $250 to $400, instead of a criminal charge for possession of less than 15 grams of cannabis. Police representatives also condemned as "ridiculous" the lack of funding for better police training, treatment and rehabilitation programs in the proposed $245-million, five-year drug strategy.Sources suggest Justice Minister Martin Cauchon may offer to lower the amount of "personal use" pot from 15 grams to 10 grams and increase penalties for repeat offenders.Note: Chrétien urged to scrap marijuana plan Legislation faces hurdles in Parliament.Newshawk: KeganSource: Toronto Star (CN ON)Author: Tonda Maccharles, Ottawa BureauPublished: November 04, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Toronto Star Contact: lettertoed Website: Related Articles & Web Site:CFDP, Police Groups Slam Proposed Pot Law, MADD Jointly Urge Ottawa To Stop Pot Bill
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Comment #1 posted by Arthropod on November 04, 2003 at 19:11:43 PT:
Did I miss something?
Since when are police officers supposed to have political opinions while on the job? I don't care what they personally believe, that is their business. But they are the executive branch of the law, not the judicial or legislative. This kinda reminds me of the Alaska case a while back. The police just decided that they didn't like a court ruling, so it was "business as usual".
We need more officers like this!
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