Canada Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Ban 

Canada Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Ban 
Posted by CN Staff on December 23, 2003 at 17:20:58 PT
By Harbaksh Singh Nanda
Source: United Press International
Toronto -- Canada's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that possession of even small amount of marijuana is illegal and a criminal offense. The apex court's 6-3 ruling came a week after new Prime Minister Paul Martin said that his government would pursue the legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Martin had said his government would reintroduce a bill in the parliament to wipe out criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.The current bill, introduced during the administration of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, proposed that anyone caught with a small quantity of marijuana may be fined up to $400 but not criminally prosecuted. The bill died when parliament recessed last month.The Supreme Court ruling has upheld country's 80-year-old ban on possession of marijuana, leaving it to the Parliament if it wanted to change the law."It is within Parliament's legislative jurisdiction to criminalize the possession of marijuana, should it choose to do so," the judgment said, adding, "Equally, it is open to Parliament to decriminalize or otherwise modify any aspect of the marijuana laws that it no longer considers to be good public policy."The court unanimously upheld federal law prohibiting possession of marijuana for trafficking purposes.The three marijuana crusaders, Chris Clay, David Malmo-Levine and Victor Caine, failed to convince the court that penalties for possessing small amount of marijuana were violating the constitutional guarantees of fundamental justice.The three men argued that jailing someone for a harmless activity violates the country's Charter of Rights that guarantees life, liberty and security of the person.But the majority of nine judges disagreed.Clay owned a marijuana paraphernalia and seed store in London, Ontario, before police shut it down. Alan Young, who represented Clay, said that Parliament has never proven that recreational pot use causes anything more serious than bronchitis.Malmo-Levine once ran the Harm Reduction Club, a non-profit cooperative in East Vancouver that offered advice on safe pot use while supplying it to some 1,800 members. He served a two-year conditional sentence after he was busted in 1996.Caine was arrested by a police officer with 0.5 grams of pot. The state has "no right to tell people what they can put in their bodies," lawyer John Conroy, representing Caine, had told the Supreme Court last spring. "Where do you draw the line?" Conroy asked. "Are fatty foods going to be next? The obesity problem is a lot worse than the drug problem."Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ruling will have no impact on the Health Canada's Medical Marijuana Access Program, under which the government supplies marijuana to people on compassionate grounds."The medical marijuana access program will continue as it has been. The government is committed to provide medical marijuana to patients on compassionate grounds," Health Canada's spokeswoman Carole Saindon told United Press International.Prime Minister Martin hinted at stiffer fines for possession and tougher penalties for distribution and cultivation of pot.Martin also dismissed U.S. complaints that decriminalizing marijuana will create a haven for pot growers in the region.An estimated 2 million Canadians smoke marijuana recreationally, and policing and prosecution bills run as high as $350 million (CAD$500 million) a year, according to a report by the Canadian Legislature.Meanwhile, the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center reports Canada is increasingly becoming a source country for high-grade marijuana smuggled into the United States. Marijuana is the most widely abused and commonly available illicit drug in the United States. "It's very important to make clear to the Americans that we are not talking about legalization, and that there are going to be heavy fines and that we are going to go after the grow-ops, we are going to go after those who distribute," Martin said in a year-end interview with CTV."But, look, Canada will make its own decision based on its own values," Martin said in the interview, scheduled for broadcast on Dec. 28. Source: United Press InternationalAuthor: Harbaksh Singh NandaPublished: December 23, 2003Copyright 2003 United Press InternationalContact: tips upi.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links End To Year of Pot Activism Highs Supreme Court Upholds Legal Ban on Pot Ban is Constitutional, Supreme Court Rules
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Comment #2 posted by Virgil on December 23, 2003 at 20:24:57 PT
No sly in green, foxy in kind
The police state is here. It is so 1984 that perpetual war seems unavoidable and the rewriting of history happens even for stuff that happened this year. It really is dire, Greenfox, and I do not know what will awaken people.
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Comment #1 posted by greenfox on December 23, 2003 at 19:03:39 PT
Oh well going to bed..(or Canucks IN bed with US!)
What crap! Hurray for prohibition, it shall never die. Too much money to be made. Cry to all readers: leave this fallen Roman empire. It is doomed, and there is no fixing it or saving it. Only contracts for jailers, fitting up nice and small cells for....YOU! So stay if you like, and be prepared to conform. Otherwise, follow my call to the Netherlands, the most beautiful place on earth.
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