Dreams Go Up in Smoke for Marijuana Activists

Dreams Go Up in Smoke for Marijuana Activists
Posted by CN Staff on December 24, 2003 at 08:30:27 PT
By Ingrid Peritz and Daniel Leblanc
Source: Globe and Mail 
Montreal and Ottawa -- They had hoped the Supreme Court would help turn Canada into a slice of Amsterdam in North America. Instead, Canadian marijuana activists watched their hopes for legalization vanish yesterday after the Supreme Court ruling upholding laws against pot possession."This brings Canada one step closer to the United States, while we had been on the way to being more like Europe," Marc-Boris St.-Maurice, leader of the federal Marijuana Party of Canada, said as he puffed on what he had hoped would be a legal joint at Montreal's new marijuana café.
"I was hoping the Constitution would protect my right to get stoned as much as it protects what movie I watch or what book I can read," he said. "But I'm still a criminal. Ten years of hard work is all down the tubes."The decision leaves Parliament to face the new year at the centre of a heated debate on marijuana laws as a result of the ruling that it is up to the federal government to deal with the issue through legislation.There had been fears in Ottawa that the Supreme Court, which has been accused of meddling in the affairs of Parliament, could force the government to quickly liberalize its laws on pot possession.As a result of the court decision, the House of Commons will be allowed to respond to the call of Prime Minister Paul Martin for a debate on the issue of the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana."What I like about the Supreme Court decision is that it makes it clear that this is a matter of public policy for elected officials, not judges. The court properly declined to interfere with Parliament's responsibility to determine this issue," Canadian Alliance MP Vic Toews said.Montreal's bring-your-own-marijuana café, Chez Marijane, opened just over three weeks ago across the street from a police station, a small gesture of defiance in what patrons had hoped were the last gasps of Canada's drug laws.Instead, David Malmo-Levine, one of the three defendants whose appeals of their marijuana convictions led to yesterday's ruling, said he fears police will use the court decision to crack down on pot users."The judges have given the cops carte blanche to come in here and obliterate us," he said from the headquarters of the B.C. Marijuana Party in Vancouver.He said Canada had been at a crossroads, about to choose between the more lenient Dutch approach to soft drug use, and the hard-line "Singapore model.""The courts have sent Canada further down the road of the Singapore model," he said."Everyone had their fingers crossed, and this is a major setback," he said.But federal officials in the Prime Minister's Office, the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety praised the ruling."We're pleased that the Supreme Court has recognized that it's up to Parliament to decide whether marijuana possession should be treated as a criminal offence," said Farah Mohamed, a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan. New Democrat MP Libby Davies said that the ruling is disappointing, and that she hopes that politicians will respond to the Supreme Court's challenge."I agree that Parliament's got to act," she said.Yesterday, the Ontario government urged Ottawa to introduce legislation removing the criminal sanction against possession of small amounts of marijuana.Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said there is a growing consensus in Canada that while a marijuana industry should not be encouraged, those caught in possession of the drug should not face criminal prosecution.He said Ontario would welcome initiatives promised by Mr. Martin to wipe out criminal penalties -- including possible jail time and criminal records -- for those caught with small amounts of marijuana."I think the appropriate course is to decriminalize possession and to have all the other offences stay where they are," the Finance Minister said yesterday. Mr. Sorbara also served notice that the government plans to move aggressively against the expanding homegrown-marijuana industry. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police said in a report last week that the number of grow operations in Ontario has doubled in the past two years to as many as 15,000. The association said most of these operations were located in suburban homes in small and medium-sized cities.The report said these enterprises generated as much as $12.7-billion in the past three years and stole about $260-million of electricity from the provincial grid at the expense of other customers. Separate fights Recent challenges to Canada's marijuana laws have been made in two fields:  Recreational use: The Supreme Court of Canada's ruling upheld the law making possession of even small amounts a criminal offence. The law had been upheld by lower courts.The federal government introduced legislation that would wipe out criminal penalties for people caught with small amounts of marijuana, but the bill died. Medical use: The federal Justice Department announced this month that it intends to stay about 4,000 charges of possession as a result of legal battles over medicinal marijuana.An Ontario court ruling in 2000 found medicinal-marijuana users had the right to possess less than 30 grams of the drug.StaffNote: Ruling brings Canada closer to U.S. than Europe, leader of pot party says.With reports from Murray Campbell and ReutersSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author:  Ingrid Peritz and Daniel LeblancPublished: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - Page A5 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Ban End To Year of Pot Activism Highs Supreme Court Upholds Legal Ban on Pot
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Comment #19 posted by mayan on December 25, 2003 at 19:25:34 PT
Rush on Drug Users...
This is What Rush Limbaugh Thinks About People Who use Drugs: And What the Faux President Thinks About the Demagogue Drug Addicted Populist
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on December 25, 2003 at 18:22:45 PT
I agree that people shouldn't be forced off medicine. The only thing is someone who uses hard drugs for awhile can suffer terribly if they find themselves in a position where they can't get the drugs. We can quit coffee or even cigarettes and not die but hard drugs and alcohol can kill a person in withdrawal so I feel it's best not to be dependent on a substance that would control me to that level and tolerance happens and more drugs are needed to get the same effects. It's a matter of what is important to each one of us and should be left between a Doctor and his or her patient. That's just my opinion.
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Comment #17 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 25, 2003 at 12:40:54 PT
Things I wish the mainstream would learn from Rush
1. Oxycontin is much safer than tylenol laced vicodin for our hearing and livers. 2. You can work high.3. This is not a moral issue, there are a million people in this country who have decided that life on opiates is better than life without opiates.If there is one thing I learned in my anthropology class it was that there is no one right way to live. An addiction to opiates is just a different way to live who are we to judge what is better or worse? Forcing people off opiates is like saying the white man's way was better than the Indians cultural lifestyle. 
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Comment #16 posted by jose melendez on December 25, 2003 at 12:02:00 PT
strange. true?
Freedom. Justice. Right.
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Comment #15 posted by jose melendez on December 25, 2003 at 06:26:40 PT
Rush Spew? Not really. Or perhaps . . . no thanks.
mayan, ryno and all: I really don't think Rush spewed all that much about drug users and jail. The quote most often offered as evidence was likely sarcasm, and the comic in question has every right to express his opinion, regardless. That such a quote might be applied to him is likely a function of the self perpetuating properties of the profitable public entertainment and employment system we call the war on drugs.We all know it's really waged on US citizens.It seems to me that some important points in this issue are that:- oxycontin is far more dangerous than smoked opium or (obviously) cannabis, - laws restricting use of certain substances merely shift demand to stronger, easier to conceal substances- youth access, substance abuse and homicides all increase during periods of alcohol and drug prohibitionJMO*
Just: My Opinion
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on December 24, 2003 at 20:35:13 PT
Feliz Navidad!
Thank you, FoM! Merry Christmas to you and your's also! Below is a link to some incredible images. It's an amazing universe we are all part of...The Best of 2003 - Top 10 Astronomy Images:'s some more Mark Fiore...Toyland: the new "This Modern World"...Franksly Speaking:
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on December 24, 2003 at 19:55:07 PT
Merry Christmas to you. 
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Comment #12 posted by mayan on December 24, 2003 at 19:36:06 PT
Oh, Yeah...
Peace on Earth to all!
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on December 24, 2003 at 19:34:25 PT
Rush is merely reaping what he has sown for so very long. He has been spewing his hateful "all drug useres should be in jail" rhetoric for years and it has finally come back to bite him in the ass. It is hard for me to find much sympathy for him. And kaptinemo isn't a liberal, he's a Libertarian. Most folks here can't be herded under the meaningless labels of "liberal" or "conservative". You said..."It seems to me that we all should be screaming about how corrupt officials in authority (cops, DA's, judges) can use the war on drugs for corrupt reasons mainly due to the fact that using drugs is a victimless crime."What do you think we have been doing here day in and day out for years on end? Where have you been?
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on December 24, 2003 at 18:27:19 PT
It's part of the cycle of life to have a revolution. When everything gets out of balance and people are being hurt by the rules of law that are imposed they will revolt. It's always been that way and it won't stop now. It will continue.
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Comment #9 posted by westnyc on December 24, 2003 at 18:18:19 PT
I Fear!
People - "I fear the day will come when we Patriots will have to put our second-amendment rights to use against the traitorous Democratic and Republican parties; and, use it to take-back our country." Sad, sad, dirty "career politicians." The power of corruption will only get worse from now on because the people are too apathetic to stand-up and let it be known that we will not tolerate these injustices anymore.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on December 24, 2003 at 15:59:05 PT
Off Topic: Article About Alaska 
Bush Policy to Allow More Logging in Alaska Forest Wed December 24, 2003 
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The Bush administration opened up undeveloped areas of the largest U.S. national forest to logging on Tuesday, scrapping a Clinton-era rule aimed at protecting the wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service announced that it will exempt the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska from a national rule prohibiting timber cutting in roadless areas. The decision means about 300,000 acres of dense, old-growth rain forest will be available for logging.
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Comment #7 posted by Virgil on December 24, 2003 at 15:52:09 PT
Did Rush break the law?
He even admits it. Aren't the people investigating him just doing their job? Yes and yes.Is it all wrong and aren't the laws terrible? yes Remove the liberal bias from that and what do you get? Yes, yes, and yes.Here is one a dittohead might not agree with? Is Rush a hypocrit and liar? yes and yes and liberal has nothing to do with it. 
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Comment #6 posted by ryno35 on December 24, 2003 at 11:56:51 PT:
kaptinemo on Rush
It really does look to me like the DA in florida is using the drug laws for political payback. It's well known that she is a fan of Janet Reno and we all know Rush has not been kind to her. I've never heard of this vigourous of an investigation for a drug user, who obviously is not a dealer.It seems to me that we all should be screaming about how corrupt officials in authority (cops, DA's, judges) can use the war on drugs for corrupt reasons mainly due to the fact that using drugs is a victimless crime.I think that some of you folks up here let your liberal bias cloud your perspective when it comes to what I hope is the goal of this site which is to change people's minds about the drug laws.
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on December 24, 2003 at 09:59:54 PT:
Friends, I've said it many times: I'm no Pollyanna
I don't ceaselessly focus only on the (at times, miniscule) good we've experienced in the face of huge obstacles. It's depressing, no doubt of it.But I also take the long view, afforded by the simple facts.More interest in this issue has been galvanized in the past 10 years than in the past 30. And more interest has been afforded this issue in the past 12 months alone than in any 1 year period I can think of.The Rosenthal Trial, with the the extraordinary measure of 8 jury members recanting their verdict and apologizing to Mr. Rosenthal, is a prominent marker of our success in the court of public opinion. The recent 9th Circuit court rulings are another. We even have popular pols like Mr. Kucinich making the public point that the war on weed is stupidly wasteful. The ONLY reason we have met with setbacks has been that those whose paychecks are dependent upon maintaining the gravy train have the resources of the government to 'enable' them. Were there a level playing field, the antis would have been swept from it long ago. But as money grows tighter, there will be even greater emphasis on 'cost/benefit' analysis demanding better accountability and efficiency...qualities that no anti-drug agency can possibly demonstrate. As the recent OMB reports regarding the DEA can attest, such a determination is dependent upon facts, not suppositions...and the facts are, the DEA and every other anti-drug agency has proven themselves incapable of interdicting even a tenth of illegal substances entering US borders and airspace. Hardly a prescription for continued existence as a 'public service entity'.In an aside, and not entirely appropo: It's getting very hot for ol' "Rush" at the DEAWatch site: Dec 2003, 13:09 PST, 3rd Edition"Rush Scumbaugh":Rush the Scumbaugh appears to be following the same pattern as repeat offenders... first they are sorry for allowing themselves to become drug addicts, second they attend a 'show' rehab program, third they blame others for their criminal habits, fourth they accuse LE of singling them out, fifth they resume using illegal drugs. Same old story.Rush is in phase 3/4. Soon he will resume using some type of illegal drug because right after blaming others for his problem he will soon believe he was right and everyone else is wrong. Someone needs to keep an eye on Rush. No doubt he has some stash socked away somewhere. Rush is a conviction waiting to happen.My greatest wish is that Bill O'Reilly doesn't have a similar problem.and:23 Dec 2003, 13:41 PST, 4th Edition"Rush Scumbaugh", con't:I see from the list of former Honorary S/As that Rush "Scumbaugh" was never submitted for our award in this category. I conclude from that, that the S/As who work in Rush's hood either knew or suspected his hypocrisy.It is ludicrous for Rush to say "liberals" and "democrats" are pushing the investigation of his alleged criminality. The next thing Rush will be claiming is that Hillary Clinton is behind the investigation. Rush's lunacy only confirms that drug users and dealers are self-centered, twisted, psychotic people who are a serious danger to civilized and sane society. I think we should all be glad that every admitted, illegal drug user in our country doesn't have a nationwide microphone to attack law enforcement. I agree. Rush is a Scumbaugh! He should get off the airwaves.and:And... 
This crap Rush is spouting really makes me angry. How dare he say LE is being led by the Democrats in Florida? For the last three years Rush has been saying the Democrats we're too dumb to win an election... now he's saying the Demo's are smart enough to get LE to investigation him. Huh!?!And if we are to believe Rush when he says that "the Democrats are behind the investigation (of Rush)", should we also believe the opposite... that Governor Jeb Bush is protecting Rush from arrest?Noelle Bush escaped jail because "a rock of crack cocaine somehow jumped into her shoe as she walked through a corridor of her rehab facility."I think that it is fairly obvious to everyone that Rush hasn't been arrested because he is a Friend of Jeb and George.Rush is a Scumbaugh to the Nth degree!and finally, the author of this gem is obvious unconscious of the parallel between his words and what has happened to Tommy Chong:Rush reminds us all just how incompetent or complicatory DEA has become over the years. It seems unfathomable that dozens of people in the media and S&Ls depts were aware of Rush's drug addiction but not a single DEA S/A working in Florida knew about it.Of course DEA FL had to have had some inkling about what was going on but refused to open a case on Rush because he was a strong supporter of Jeb and George Bush.When we in DEA allow our political preferences to decide who we investigate and/or arrest we have betrayed the Gold Badge and our Oath.*Just how many of these were rabid "Rush" fans before their idol was found to have feet of clay is anybody's guess. But I'd wager a half month's pay that the vast majority of them were noggin-nodding dittoheads before Rushie-poo got outed."Rush"'s downfall signals just how corrupt the entire system is...and will now be showcased as being. It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that he will, at some point, blurt out in court that he must not be prosecuted because of his usefulness to the Republicans and national security. He's just the sort of loose canon that would make such a gaffe.
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Comment #4 posted by sukoi on December 24, 2003 at 09:17:27 PT
I think that kaptinemo is right. A setback, yes but this may also be a blessing in disguise. Those fence leaners will go one way or the other and I think that most will come our way, the way of peoples rights. What all this has done is bring it to more peoples attention that would otherwise not know a thing about it. I believe that it has strengthened our cause. The snowball is rolling down the hill and getting much bigger in the process. Merry Christmas, sukoi!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 24, 2003 at 08:55:38 PT
Posting news on Christmas Eve like this ruling in Canada is really hard for me. I'm not going to post much more news because it is repetitious and we don't need more news to bum us out. I want people to remember we won a big victory in California and at least we here in the states are seeing a little progress. I feel sorry for Canadians but this is what we've lived with and unfortunately now going to jail will be happening to them too. Canada is the 51st state but not on paper and maybe it's time that we at least know where we all stand.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 24, 2003 at 08:48:02 PT
Commentary: Christmas for the Angels
By Elizabeth WoodsWednesday, December 24, 2003 - Page A18 
Victoria -- The Hells Angels will be celebrating. The Supreme Court has just guaranteed their profits from marijuana and other drugs for the indefinite future (Pot Ban Is Constitutional, Supreme Court Rules -- on-line edition, Dec. 23). And cops will be happy. Their budgets will continue to be wasted on busting grow-ops instead of investigating real crimes such as burglaries and murders (both of which are encouraged by the drug laws).How can the Supreme Court condone the creation of crimes where no real crime (that is causing harm to others) exists? How can I have security of person when the court refuses to protect me from the do-gooding tyranny of others?As a citizen I feel abandoned by the court to the mercies of politicians, most of whom are too gutless to legalize drugs, preferring to support organized crime, and knuckle under to the Americans, than to do what is sane and sensible for Canadians by legalizing, licensing and taxing recreational drug use.
 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail Company
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on December 24, 2003 at 08:44:34 PT:
Yes, a setback, but what has changed?
Really, folks, the only thing that has changed is that the issue is on the radar of the average (fence-sitting) Canadian, who now may take much more notice and think more deeply about the issue than ever before. In that respect, it could be said to be a victory.The real sticking point will be: will Canadian MP's start to sound like their Ami conterparts in Congress when the issue of PM Martin's quasi-decrim bill comes to a vote? In other words, will they attend to their electorate's wishes in voting for decrimming? Or will they toe a Grit party line...heavily influenced by Washington?
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