Cauchon Hopes Martin Will Resurrect Pot Bill

Cauchon Hopes Martin Will Resurrect Pot Bill
Posted by CN Staff on November 04, 2003 at 14:54:06 PT
By Jim Brown
Source: Canadian Press 
Ottawa -- Justice Minister Martin Cauchon admitted Tuesday his landmark bill to decriminalize marijuana possession may not pass this fall, but he expressed hope that new prime minister Paul Martin will continue process when he takes power."I'm fundamentally convinced the next government would take up this bill again," Cauchon said outside a cabinet meeting. "It's an important bill. . . We've talked about all this for nearly a decade now."
The legislation would eliminate jail time and criminal records for simple possession of small amounts of pot, replacing the current legal regime with citations and fines that would work something like traffic tickets.It would toughen penalties for marijuana grow operations and maintain stiff sentences for trafficking.Cauchon continued to hold out a slim chance Tuesday that the initiative could become law before Prime Minister Jean Chretien leaves office, insisting that "we're doing all we can to ensure it will pass as quickly as possible."He acknowledged, however, that Chretien could cut the current parliamentary session short, clearing the way for Martin to make a fresh start once he takes over.Cauchon suggested that, in such a case, at least some of the legislative work would be done and the new leader would not have to start from scratch.There was no immediate word from Martin's spokesmen on whether he would indeed resurrect the marijuana bill.Martin has said he favours decriminalization in principle, but has also indicated he is sensitive to opposing views expressed by some Liberal backbenchers.Cauchon, in an effort to win over the caucus dissidents, has put out word that he is willing to consider some changes to the legislation."We've never pretended the bill was perfect," he said. "I'm open to listen to the different amendments that might be proposed."Sources say the justice minister is flexible on at least three major points:-Lowering the limit for non-criminal possession to 10 grams of marijuana, down from the 15 initially proposed.-Increasing the fines for repeat offenders. The original bill set out a scale of fines ranging from $100 to $400, depending on the exact nature of the offence and whether the offender was a juvenile or adult.-Amending the bill to ensure that illicit marijuana growers would do jail time and not be let off with conditional sentences. The bill already doubles the maximum penalty for grow operations to 14 years from the current seven, but critics complain judges rarely impose the maximum and too often let offenders off with probation or community service.The legislation is currently before a Commons committee that was expected to hear its last witnesses Tuesday evening. The committee will debate amendments next, and could send the bill back to the full Commons before the end of the week.It's unlikely, however, that it can pass the House by Friday, when MPs are scheduled to take a one-week break. The Senate would also have to give its approval to make the bill law.During next week's recess Martin will be officially confirmed as Liberal leader by a party convention. Chretien is widely expected to put an end to the parliamentary session after that, to avoid returning to the House as a lame duck.Complete Title: Cauchon Hoping New Martin Government Will Resurrect Pot BillSource: Canadian Press Author: Jim BrownPublished: Tuesday, November 04, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Canadian PressRelated Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Opposes Proposed Pot Law Illegal Again Canada's Marijuana Laws Valid? 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #7 posted by afterburner on November 09, 2003 at 13:11:25 PT:
Personal Cultivation May Save Canada's Pot Law
Prince of Pot: Ottawa SNUD Tour Running Time: 27 min 
Date Entered: 05 Nov 2003"I have just returned from Ottawa. THE COMMITTEE APPROVES UP TO 3 plants personal cultivation, following a proposal by myself, Crystal & Jody Pressman, shown on this page. Its not a criminal offense but is liable to a $250 fine. Its a little wedge but the committee approved it so now it goes to the House of Commons."If it passes Parliament before this session ends, this small change could have great consequences. On the other hand, passing a joint hand-to-hand could be considered trafficking. Let's hope the Canadian Supreme Court is tired of pursuing such reckless destruction of Canadian lives, families, and livelihoods and rules in favour of legalization.ego transcendence follows ego destruction, click-click-click, Holland prescribes, Belgium to prescribe, England to appprove Sativex, Ontario Court of Appeals broadens support for medical cannabis patients by increasing the availability of designated growers.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by BigDawg on November 05, 2003 at 05:01:09 PT
Glad to see it myself
Personally, I think the decrim/recrim they want to install may be a small step forward, but overall it will only create more problems by causing the end user to be relatively free but the producer to be under duress... effectively increasing demand while increasing risk leading to a higher price and more violence.Let it die and the courts will set cannabis free.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by jose melendez on November 05, 2003 at 03:05:36 PT
unlawful ruling
John, I think Emery is correct, that once the law was nullified, it ceased to exist. Judges do not make law. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on November 04, 2003 at 19:43:28 PT
Cannabis law up north
This bring up the question that everyone is asking. What is the current status of cannabis laws in Canada? Is it legal a la Marc Emery, recriminalized, or same as it ever was? Legal scholars or anyone else, please comment.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on November 04, 2003 at 15:50:23 PT:
More Grit dithering
It looks like our brethren Up North were right; the Grits are playing a delaying action in hopes that the Canadian Supreme Court will take the necessity for making a decision from their fumbling, trembling hands.And if their Supremes strike down the possession laws, then expect the Bush Regime to scream bloody murder and threaten border closures.So sad. So very sad.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 04, 2003 at 15:27:18 PT
10 Grams
It is hard for me to understand the 10 gram limit. We are allowed more then that amount in many states. How did they sneak that recriminalization in so easily? I still haven't figured that one out.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by WolfgangWylde on November 04, 2003 at 15:25:19 PT
If Cauchon....
...thinks Martin is going to take up this bill, he's smoking better stuff than I am. Good riddance to a bad law.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment