Ottawa Reintroduces Pot Possession Bill

  Ottawa Reintroduces Pot Possession Bill

Posted by CN Staff on February 12, 2004 at 10:51:04 PT
By The News Staff 
Source: CTV 

The federal government has formally reintroduced legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill, which proposes that pot possession under 15 grams result in a fine and increased penalties for growers, was reintroduced today unchanged.The bill has caused much controversy. Critics fear it sends the wrong message to young people about drug use. They also wonder how police would assess those who drive high.
It's just one of the many bills that died when Paul Martin took over as prime minister from Jean Chretien in December. Eight of those bills are expected to be revived today, reintroduced at the same parliamentary stage they were at when they died. Another bill expected to be reintroduced is one easing patent laws to allow cheaper AIDS drugs to poorer countries.The AIDS bill was an initiative started by former prime minister Jean Chretien in the last year of his term. Prime Minister Paul Martin has vowed to push the bill through, and in a nod to his predecessor said he would call it The Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa Act.On Wednesday, the Liberals reintroduced five legislative bills, including a ban on human cloning.The anti-cloning bill outlaws human cloning, but allows stem cell research on embryos. It also bans procedures such as sex selection, commercial surrogate motherhood contracts, and the sale of sperm and eggs.The legislation passed in the House of Commons by a vote of 149 to 109. However, it's unclear whether it will pass in the upper chamber before an expected spring election.Several pro-life MPs in every party except the NDP joined to vote against the bill. The Bloc Quebecois said it infringes on provincial responsibility.Bills reintroduced Wednesday also include the redrawing of boundaries and the creation of an independent ethics counsellor for the House of Commons.The proposal for an independent ethics counsellor is being brought back just days after Auditor General Sheila Fraser found massive misspending in the federal sponsorship program.Source: CTV (Canada)Published: February 12, 2004Copyright: 2004 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. Website: newsonline Related Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Marijuana Bill Could Pass Pot Law May Stand, but It Still Needs Fixing 

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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 19, 2004 at 09:29:56 PT
Hi Doobinie
I can see where you are coming from. It's good to see you!
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Comment #10 posted by Doobinie on February 19, 2004 at 09:10:49 PT
Hi FoM,Though the penalties for growing will be increasing for larger-scale cases, I recall reading an article in which it was said that the re-introduced proposed legislation makes allowance for growing up to three plants with no greater threat of penalty than a fine. With the growing technology available today, two people could have six plants yielding every couple of months. With the prices that one has to pay for weed, even if one had to pay a $500 fine for having three plants, the savings alone from producing your own would be worth it.I think that the legislation, as I understand it, might not be so bad. I suspect that it is just the first of many slow (typically Canadian) steps in the right direction.Love and Peace,Doobinie in Soviet Canuckistan
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 13, 2004 at 11:03:25 PT

Just a Note
The audio links are the same. At least the url's are. I'm listening to it now. It sure isn't looking good for Canada these days. The penalty for growing is really going to be bad. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 13, 2004 at 10:39:37 PT

Related News Article from The Voice of America
Canada Launches Effort to Halt Marijuana for Cocaine TradeFebruary 13, 2004 
Listen to Craig McCulloch's report (RealAudio) report - Download 523k (RealAudio)
 Illegal marijuana crops worth billions of dollars each year are flourishing in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Both Canadian and American authorities are now making large seizures of not only drugs, but also weapons, houses and boats. The illicit plant is being traded not for cash, but cocaine.Marijuana growing in British Columbia is estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year. It is one of the province's major illegal exports. In most cases, the high-grade drug is being sent southward into the United States, exchanged directly for cocaine that has made its way through U.S. territory to the Canadian border. Canada is now the second highest source of marijuana in the United States.While fighting the illegal trade, Canadian authorities have recently been making large seizures. During a series of raids on one day late last year, Canadian police agencies confiscated one Cessna aircraft, three boats, 22 different types of weapons including two machine guns, 3,300 marijuana plants, and replica police jackets. Just this past week, police raided six high end homes in a Vancouver suburb and confiscated 4,000 plants. Police are planning on confiscating two of the houses if they can prove the owners were the marijuana farmers.  Corporal Scott Rintoul is with the Drug Awareness Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver. He says weapons, cocaine, and other drugs started being used as currency in exchange for marijuana because of changes to banking laws."There were some restrictions put on by the federal government and provincial government on how much you could transfer and how much money you could change," he said. "So it became very disruptive and it was a challenge to change money. Almost overnight, they realize that they can actually just take marijuana across the border and trade that for cocaine. And that started about 1995 and that continues today. And that's sort of the big trade now is marijuana being traded for guns, for cocaine, for Methamphetamine, which then comes back into Canada."  The Organized Crime Agency in Vancouver estimates there are currently 10,000 commercial growing operations throughout the province. Each location contains an average of 400 plants that provides three or four harvests every year, which earns the grower over $1 million. On the streets of Los Angeles, the drug gets $5,000 for about one half of a kilogram and as much as $8,000 in eastern cities like New York.Criminology professor Darryl Plecas, of the University College of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, has studied the marijuana trade for years. He says trading marijuana for cocaine is lowering the cash cost to bring large amounts of cocaine into Canada. This is worsening an already dangerous trade."If I want to purchase a huge amount of cocaine, now that I have marijuana, I don't need the same amount of money," said Darryl Plecas. "I just need to get my hands on enough marijuana, which matches what they're asking for in cocaine and away I go. So, all of sudden you in effect reduce your cost of cocaine to buy it for trafficking purposes to a very small amount. This [is a] very dangerous situation."  
Ken Peterson 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency opened a Vancouver office in June of last year. The Resident Agent in Charge, Ken Peterson says the size of the marijuana trade is getting the agency's attention. He says the new trade of exchanging marijuana for cocaine has resulted in a significant increase of trafficking and as a result, arrests and seizures."Oh it's a major concern. The BC [British Columbia] bud - Canada and especially western Canada is a source country for the BC bud," said Mr. Peterson. "The United States gets their cocaine both from Central and South America. The free flow and the larger seizures of cocaine being seized both at the American and the Canadian side of the border has increased significantly lately as the marijuana coming south into the United States. The seizures and the intelligence has also increased significantly recently."To help this growing battle against the marijuana and cocaine trade, the new Canadian government of Prime Minister Paul Martin will soon reintroduce legislation to deal with the marijuana issue.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on February 12, 2004 at 19:27:15 PT

Related News Article from The Canadian Press
Federal Liberals Re-Introduce Marijuana BillFebruary 12, 2004OTTAWA (CP) — The government reintroduced a bill today to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana, but failed to reduce the maximum threshold from 15 grams.Any changes would have to be proposed by MPs, said an official in the Prime Minister's Office.The government wants the law to pass before the next federal election, expected in the spring, in the hope of muting any criticism.The bill was reintroduced at Third Reading, meaning it won't have to be re-examined by a parliamentary committee. That would change if the House of Commons reduces maximum possession to 10 grams, as was suggested by some Liberal and Conservative MPs.Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said while marijuana use must be discouraged, it should not result in a criminal record for possessing small amounts. As it stands, the proposed law would not impose criminal sanctions for possession of enough pot to make about 20 joints. However, fines of up to $400 could be imposed for adults; less for youth.The legislation would increase maximum penalties for the producers of cannabis.The Senate would review the bill for several weeks after it passes the Commons.Copyright: 2004 The Canadian Press
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Comment #6 posted by erikghint on February 12, 2004 at 12:20:39 PT

Small consolation
At least they did not change the bill to put mandatory minimums in.
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Comment #5 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on February 12, 2004 at 12:10:12 PT

Too much caffeine can make you drive poorly too!
Critics "wonder how police would assess those who drive high"?Who are these critics? Certainly not Canadian senators, who determined that "Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving." It's right there on page 19 of the report, the same report where they conclude that nothing less than legal regulation will do. Just like the LeDain commission and Nixon's Shaffer committee.
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Comment #4 posted by cloud7 on February 12, 2004 at 11:32:35 PT

Which critics?
"Critics fear it sends the wrong message to young people about drug use. They also wonder how police would assess those who drive high."No, actually critics know this is a sham attempt to subvert any meaningful change in cannabis law reform by introducing Police States of America styled policies.

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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on February 12, 2004 at 11:18:28 PT:

Things are looking very bad for the Grits
The recent scandal with the discovery by the Auditor General of certain Liberal party functionaries illegally funneling money to Grit supported ad agencies is beginning to pick up some major steam. It is entirely possible that a vote of no confidence in the Martin government could be forthcoming. With the statements of the Tory shadow cabinet being expressly against any from of decrim, should they come to power, this could look very bad indeed for our Northern friends.Make no mistake: this so-called decrim bill is bad. It seeks to establish the same kind of forfeiture laws Up There that have devastated so many Americans to the US government's happy, shark-like smiles, but with the Torries in charge, our fellow cannabists in the Great White may get nothing but vastly more grief.Curious, isn't it? First, the 'Basi Boys' scandal afflicts the local Grits in BC; now this. Looks like someone has it in for them, big time...and all at a critical juncture for drug law reform. 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 12, 2004 at 10:58:12 PT

Related News Brief from The CBC
Liberals Bring Back Pot Bill February 12, 2004OTTAWA - The Liberal government has formally reintroduced legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possessing less than 15 grams of marijuana won't result in a criminal record under the new law. 
The bill died when the final parliamentary session under former prime minister Jean Chrétien ended in November. As Prime Minister Paul Martin promised in January, the government reintroduced the bill Thursday morning, unchanged from the previous version. Justice Minister Irwin Cotler says marijuana use must be discouraged, but he doesn't believe possessing small amounts should result in a criminal record. Under the new legislation, possessing less than 15 grams would result in something like a traffic ticket, where no criminal charges are laid but a fine must be paid.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 12, 2004 at 10:53:16 PT

It's Back!!!
I don't know what this will mean but more confusion.
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