Drug Panel Was Upstaged, MP Asserts

Drug Panel Was Upstaged, MP Asserts
Posted by CN Staff on November 18, 2002 at 07:34:42 PT
By Jane Taber
Source: Globe and Mail
 The Chrétien government has pre-empted the work of a special Commons committee that spent more than $500,000 and two years travelling the world to study the non-medical use of drugs, the committee's vice-chair charges.Randy White, a Canadian Alliance MP, pointed last week to the recent announcement by Health Minister Anne McLellan's office that her department is reviewing criteria for safe-injection sites as evidence that the Liberal-dominated committee is simply following the wishes of the minister.
Though he does not support safe-injection sites, Mr. White said the committee is "leaning toward" adopting them as part of promoting the European model of "harm reduction." The committee is also expected to recommend that marijuana be decriminalized. The report, which is more than 100 pages long and includes 30 recommendations, is to be finalized at a committee meeting today. It is to be made public early next month.Mr. White said he expects fireworks at today's meeting, during which he will fight against recommendations of safe-injection sites and the harm-reduction model. He was careful not to divulge the specifics of the report's recommendations."I'm not going to be one of their pawns in the cabinet chess game where they send a committee out to blow all kinds of taxpayers' money and then they totally disregard it anyway and don't even wait for the report," he said.Mr. White says he is "appalled" by two incidents -- Justice Minister Martin Cauchon signalling that he wanted to decriminalize marijuana before the committee finished its report and the recent announcement by the Health Department."I'm quite appalled, quite frankly, at this damn government," he said."They go out there and make their announcements -- none of them have asked any of us or looked at the report." Note: Vice-chair of committee slams statements made by Ottawa before report's release.Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Jane TaberPublished: Monday, November 18, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A6Copyright: 2002 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles:Canada Poised To Ease Pot Laws Report on Cannabis: Get Whole Storyétien Led 1981 Move To Reform Pot Laws
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Comment #7 posted by CorvallisEric on November 18, 2002 at 23:52:21 PT
Naaps, thanks for the info
I hadn't followed the committee news carefully enough. Seeing Randy White's name so often I just assumed without thinking that he was the chairman. Hardly remember seeing Paddy Tourney's name at all.
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Comment #6 posted by Naaps on November 18, 2002 at 23:18:28 PT
The Commons Committee
MP Randy White is posturing, as he whines, “I'm quite appalled, quite frankly, at this damn government." Truthfully, he feels cheated that his opportunity as an Alliance Party member contributing to the Commons Committee report is blunted by what he considers to be premature maneuvering by the Liberals who hold power.MP White is a committed prohibitionist. In Committee Meeting #49 he said in typical fashion, “I often refer to harm reduction as harm extension, not reduction.” Seeing the legitimate government in power acting in any manner contrary to his zealous stance is sure to provoke White into making disparaging, off handed comments.Notice that the actual chair of the Committee, Liberal MP Paddy Tourney, is not making the same squawks. It isn’t in her interest to issue dissent with the government for acting.The marijuana decriminalization the Commons Committee envisions means that one caught in possession of a minor quantity of pot would be subject to a fine, but wouldn’t have a criminal record. Trafficking and cultivating would remain criminal offenses. It is a tepid, hesitating chicken step.Here’s a quote from the Senate Committee summary report pertaining to the option of decriminalization: We believe however that this approach is in fact the worst case senario, depriving the State of a necessary regulatory tool for dealing with the entire production, distribution, and consumption network, and delivering hypocritical messages at the same time. 
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on November 18, 2002 at 21:00:20 PT:
Guys, UN Treaties Are a Red Herring: Repost Below.
Comment #16 posted by afterburner on October 06, 2002 at 12:50:43 PT:
Prohibition and U.N. treaties AND wiggle-room!Prohibition and U.N. treaties, Paul Armentano, Research & Publications Director, NORML and The NORML Foundation, for High Times magazine:The United States is a signatory to the world’s three main international drug control treaties: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Prohibitionists historically have maintained that these treaty obligations require us to uphold a national policy of criminal pot prohibition. In truth however, experts from around the globe have repeatedly reached a much different conclusion: that international treaties, in fact, do not prohibit countries from relaxing legal restrictions on the personal use or cultivation of marijuana. In August, a legal study released by the U.K. think-tank DrugScope concluded that governments have considerable room for maneuver under the terms of the three drug control Conventions, adding that the treaties allow for measures such as education, rehabilitation and social reintegration [to] be substituted for conviction and penal sanction in drug cases. Authors noted that several EU nations, including Italy and Spain, have replaced criminal penalties for minor drug crimes with administrative sanctions without running afoul with U.N. treaties. (They did question, however, whether the Dutch tolerance policy toward coffee-shops meets conventional obligations.) Researchers speculated that these and nations with similar laws justify their approach by either calling on constitutional principles, principles of proportionality or public interest criteria with regard to use or possession offenses which are considered minor in nature, [or by invoking their] right to apply alternatives to punishment for offenses which have been established as punishable.While the DrugScope report is the latest research body to draw such conclusions, it is hardly the first. In fact, even the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) admits, None of the conventions require a party to convict or punish drug abusers who commit offenses [that] have been established as punishable. Specific to the pot issue, several advisory panels have concluded that nations may institute systems of decriminalization or partial prohibition without conflicting with international conventions. As early as 1972, the US-led Shafer Commission determined that the word possession in Article 36 of the Single Convention refers not to possession for personal use, but to possession as a link to illicit trafficking. The commission went on to recommend a national policy decriminalizing the use, possession and non-profit transaction of the herb.One year later, the U.N.‘s official Commentary on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs confirmed this interpretation, stating that whether or not pot possession for personal use requires the imposition of penal sanctions is a question which may be answered differently in different countries.A 1979 Canadian government report agreed. Its authors found that international treaties granted governments considerable constructive latitude in dealing with cannabis offenses. They concluded, Even if Canada should elect to continue criminalizing consumption-oriented conduct, it is not required to convict or punish persons who have committed these offenses.A 1997 discussion paper by the New Zealand Drug Policy Forum Trust went even further. It declared that a policy of partial prohibition “ defined as permit[ing] adults to possess up to a defined amount of cannabis and cultivate up to a certain number of plants“ would appear to be in compliance with international conventions. While the researchers did acknowledge that a policy regulating and legalizing marijuana commerce is likely prohibited by provisions of the 1961 treaty, they added that governments wishing to enact such a system may simultaneously denounce the Single Convention, as permitted under article 46, while re-ratifying with reservations concerning cannabis in accordance with Article 49, which allows signatories the right to permit temporarily in any one of its territories the use of cannabis, cannabis resin, extracts and tinctures of cannabis for non-medical purposes under limited circumstances.In sum, although the US treaty obligations are often regarded as an impediment to marijuana-law reform, the truth is that our nation possesses wide-ranging flexibility regarding its pot policies despite our international commitments. Legally, drug conventions implicitly acknowledge that criminal prohibition is far from the sole or ideal drug strategy for dealing with cannabis, and unlike federal law, they permit sufficient wiggle-room for reformers to immediately enact sensible change. How drugs are classified 
Rescheduling prohibition
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Comment #4 posted by Unknown Pleasures on November 18, 2002 at 12:07:32 PT
what about the dutch?
Is holland in violation of UN treaties? Have they decriminalized or legalized? 
Whatever you call it, the Dutch cannabis market is in the hands of licensed businesses.If decriminalization maintains pot as a black-market drug, it is pointless, and does little to ease the social cost of prohobition.However, If we can still call it decriminalization (so as not to go against the treaties) and license it, that would be the best option.It is essential that pot be taken out of the hands of orginized crime, otherwise, the current drug war mentality will go fundementally unchanged. 
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Comment #3 posted by AlvinCool on November 18, 2002 at 10:41:26 PT
UN treaties
Trout: Actually I think they can't entertain legalization due to the policies the US has pused on the UN. Legalization would not be feasable under UN signed treaties, however decrim would be acceptable to everyone but Walters, Asa, Bush, Ashcroft and that crazy woman from Ohio that hates 420.
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Comment #2 posted by TroutMask on November 18, 2002 at 08:55:55 PT
knox: I believe this is referring to the House of Commons report which is going to recommend decriminalization, not legalization. It's my understanding that the folks in the House of Commons get elected so they can't afford to be completely realistic or honest unlike the Senate.-TM
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Comment #1 posted by knox42897 on November 18, 2002 at 08:11:50 PT:
He was careful not to divulge the specifics of the report's recommendationsLegalization not his interpretation "decriminaliztion"
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