Legalize Marijuana, Senate Committee Says

Legalize Marijuana, Senate Committee Says
Posted by CN Staff on September 04, 2002 at 16:10:02 PT
By Darren Yourk, Globe and Mail Update
Source: Globe and Mail 
The federal government should legalize the use of marijuana by adults, the Senate committee on Illegal Drugs recommended Wednesday in its final report.The committee's report, tabled Wednesday, says that the current system of prohibition in Canada does not work and should be replaced by a regulated system that would focus on illegal trafficking, prevention programs and respecting individual and collective freedoms.
"In our opinion, Canadian society is ready for a responsible policy of cannabis regulation that complies with these basic principles," the report says.The report recommends that the federal government amend the controlled drugs and substances act so that it can declare an amnesty for any Canadians convicted of possession of the drug under current or past legislation."Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue," Progressive Conservative Senator Pierre Nolin, the committee chairman, said Wednesday at an Ottawa press conference.The Canadian Police Association (CPA) responded angrily to the committee's recommendations, calling them a "back to school present for drug pushers."CPA Executive Officer David Griffin said his association will actively oppose efforts to decriminalize or legalize illicit drugs except in situations where the drugs have been medically prescribed."There are too many politicians playing scientist in this case," Mr. Griffin said at a press conference in Ottawa. "...Today's report ignores countless studies about the harmful effects of marijuana, particularly with respects to Canada's children and young people." The committee's report says that public opinion on marijuana is more liberal than it was a decade ago and that Canadians strongly support the use of the drug for medical purposes."This report is a unanimous one," Liberal Senator Colin Kenny said. "No one on the committee wants to see an increase in the use of cannabis. In fact, we believe that the recommendations you see in this report will ultimately result in a reduction of use of the drug."We think that the main accomplishment we'll see here is a reduction in the criminality associated with the drug, and we think that is a very valuable benefit."Mr. Griffin said a perceived tolerance for marijuana by community leaders is sending confusing and conflicting messages to Canada's youth."Canada's struggle against drugs is not being lost on our streets," he said. "It is being lost in the boardrooms of our nation.""Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal  drugs are illegal because they're dangerous."The report also strongly urges the federal government to develop a comprehensive and co-ordinated national drug strategy. The committee is calling for a national adviser on psychoactive substances and dependencies to be created within the Privy Council."We really need to get our act together on a multilateral basis on our drug policy in general," Mr. Nolin said. "In many ways, prohibition is a cop-out."It is not clear if the committee's recommendations will ever be adopted. There is broad support in Parliament for decriminalization of marijuana, but the Liberal government has not signaled whether it would introduce a bill calling for legalization."There is no need for great delays if the government agrees with us," Mr. Nolin said. "We hope that the government will immediately address many of our suggestions, particularly those related to medicinal marijuana."Health Minister Anne McLellan, who spoke with CBC Newsworld on Wednesday afternoon, said that she had not seen the Senate report yet."I told him [Mr. Nolin] very clearly that I will take seriously those recommendations that deal directly with my department. It's up to my colleagues, the Auditor-General and the Minister of Justice, to make any policy recommendations to cabinet and to the government around legalization."She said she still would like to see the benefits and the adverse effects of the drug outlined.With a report from Allison DunfieldSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Darren Yourk, Globe and Mail UpdatePublished: Wednesday, September 4, 2002 Copyright: 2002 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles:Pot Should Be Sold to High Schoolers: Senate Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs Less Harmful Than Alcohol: Senate Report
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Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on September 04, 2002 at 18:06:04 PT
Hoo,Hoo, So Mr. Griffin is a scientist??
"There are too many politicians playing scientist in this case," Mr. Griffin said at a press conference in Ottawa.So, Mr. Griffin who claims to be a scientist, claims that "Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal  drugs are illegal because they're dangerous."Oh, you rat! Go to store and buy yourself some rat posion!ff
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