Decriminalizing Pot Could Come Early in New Year

Decriminalizing Pot Could Come Early in New Year
Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2002 at 15:40:07 PT
By Louise Elliot, Canadian Press 
Source: Canadian Press 
Ottawa -- The federal government may introduce legislation early in the new year to decriminalize the use of marijuana, says Justice Minister Martin Cauchon. "If we're talking about that question of decriminalizing marijuana, we may move ahead quickly as a government," he said Monday outside the House of Commons. "I don't like to give you a date or a time frame, but let's say the beginning of next year, the four first months of next year." Cauchon said the long-awaited bill would depend partly on the views of a special Commons committee which studied the use of non-medical drugs. 
The committee released the first of two reports Monday, recommending that heroin addicts in major cities should have safe-injection sites and needle-exchange programs. It also said two prisons should be converted into treatment centres for inmates. A second report is due Thursday. That report is expected to recommend that growing pot for personal use should not be a crime. Sources familiar with the work of the committee said the move to decriminalize marijuana would still make the possession of pot illegal, but the punishment would be a fine rather than a criminal record. "If you're going to decriminalize marijuana where is a person supposed to get it?" said one well-placed source, who confirmed that the committee is in favour of letting Canadians grow their own pot. A Senate committee report issued in September went even further, saying marijuana should be legalized for use by anybody over the age of 16. The committee found that moderate use of the drug poses no serious long-term dangers for adults and could be sold under controlled circumstances, like liquor or in drug stores. The government's throne speech this fall promised changes to drug laws, including "the possibility of the decriminalization of marijuana possession." Cauchon has said he would consider replacing jail time and criminal records for pot convictions with fines. Critics said Cauchon should not have spoken out before the committee tabled its report. Alliance MP Randy White said his party remains opposed to the decriminalization of marijuana. Complete Title: Bill To Decriminalize Pot Could Come Early in New Year, Cauchon Says Canada's Drug Strategy Report: Newshawk: druidSource: Canadian PressAuthor: Louise Elliot, Canadian Press Published: Monday, December 09, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Canadian PressRelated Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Report on Cannabis: Get Whole Story Legalize Marijuana, Senate Committee Says The Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs 
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Comment #1 posted by Nasarius on December 09, 2002 at 17:12:00 PT
Congratulations, Canada!
It's not true legalization, but it's an enormous step in the right direction.
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