'Flawed' Pot Bill Sends Wrong Message To Youth 

'Flawed' Pot Bill Sends Wrong Message To Youth 
Posted by CN Staff on August 05, 2003 at 08:17:49 PT
By Alliance MP Randy White 
Source: Ottawa Hill Times 
In 2001, I introduced a motion in the House of Commons to establish an all-party committee to study the non-medical use of drugs in this country. Now two years, $500,000, and over 40 recommendations later, the only issue this government seems willing to address is the decriminalization of marijuana. And even then, how they have addressed this issue is poor at best. 
Prior to the summer recess, the Justice Minister introduced Bill C-38 which, with the upcoming change in Liberal leadership, will most likely never be made law. However, when you consider the numerous problems in this bill, that may be a blessing. To begin with, the Bill establishes a new system of fines for possession of marijuana: * Possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana would be punishable by a fine of $150 for an adult, $100 for a youth. * Possession of one gram or less of cannabis resin would be punishable by a fine of $300 for an adult and $200 for a youth. * For possession of between 15 and 30 grams of marijuana, a police officer would decide whether to issue a ticket or a summons for a summary conviction. The ticket fine would be $300 for an adult and $200 for a youth. This Bill also amends the law with respect to production of marijuana. Currently, production of marijuana is an offence punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment. The proposed legislation provides that: * An individual found growing one to three plants would face a summary conviction offence with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or 12 months in jail. * Four to 25 plants would constitute an offence punishable by up to $25,000 and/or 18 months in jail on summary conviction or, if pursued by indictment, five years less a day imprisonment. * Growing 26 to 50 plants would result in a sentence of up to 10 years and the maximum penalty for growing more than 50 plants would be 14 years. This legislation is seriously flawed and sends the wrong message to Canada's youth. Penalties for production of marijuana have actually decreased (where 25 plants or less are found) when they should have increased. I believe having a lighter fine for young people possessing marijuana (50 per cent lighter than the adult fine for a similar crime) sends the wrong message. On one hand the Liberals are saying they are trying to prevent youth from using drugs, and on the other they are effectively eliminating any real penalty for them to do so. This legislation may increase demand for marijuana and therefore make the illegal production and distribution of marijuana even more lucrative for organised crime. No additional resources, via this Bill, will be provided for police to crack down on organised crime that is profiting from lax enforcement. In addition, the Liberals have "liberalized" Canada's drug laws without providing law enforcement with the tools they need to determine whether someone is "drug driving." This is irresponsible. The fines set out in the bill are much too low and do not increase for subsequent offences. This is a major problem in the legislation. Repeat offenders must face tougher consequences. By effectively decriminalizing possession of 30 grams of marijuana, the Liberals have made it easier for traffickers to operate. Thirty grams of marijuana can provide as many as 60 joints, clearly enough for an individual to be trafficking in drugs. The Liberals still do not have an effective National Drug Strategy to fight the use of drugs. In fact, many of the recommendations that were put forward by the drug committee  coming straight from doctors, police and, in some cases, users on the streets  have been all but ignored. The Canadian Alliance is opposed to the open-ended decriminalization of marijuana as provided for in Bill C-38. We believe that: * The use and possession of marijuana must remain illegal and that possession of marijuana greater than five grams must be considered a criminal offence. * Fines for possession of marijuana should increase significantly for subsequent offences. * Appropriate roadside assessment practices must be developed for detecting drug-driving offences. * Police must be given the resources they need to combat the major criminally-controlled grow operations which have become a multi-billion dollar business for organized crime in Canada. If these measures are met, only then would the Canadian Alliance be willing to consider supporting Bill C-38. Alliance MP Randy White is his party's Solicitor General Critic, was a member of the Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, and represents the riding of Langley-Abbotsford, B.C. Source: Ottawa Hill Times (CN ON)Author:  Alliance MP Randy White Published: August 4, 2003Contact: hilltimes achilles.netWebsite: Articles:Pot Bill Has Confused, Contradictory Approach You Ever Smoked Marijuana? Articles - Canada
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Comment #3 posted by Lehder on August 05, 2003 at 15:34:25 PT
case dismissed
The best chance for meaningful reform still rests with the judiciary. Judges' dismissals and light treatment of marijuana possession charges are what seem to have really raised the profile of the debate. Let the MP's pass whatever tiresome laws they like and let them argue over 5 gm vs 15 gm and the angels on a pin. As long as the judges continue the liberalization trend that some have joined already, prohibition will be dead in fact if not in letter.Canadians busted for mj will, I hope, make themselves a terrific nuisance to the judges and expense to the state by challenging the charges and protracting and complicating each of thousands of cases to the max. Judges are more than sick of these piciune cases already - so give them an even bigger load. Judges, like all, want interesting and worthwhile work. If they expect to get it they'll have to dismiss mj cases no matter what the new law, and they will.
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Comment #2 posted by Petard on August 05, 2003 at 14:50:11 PT
Wrong Message to kids
Of course the message they really want to send the kids is "get a criminal record" and "Jails, they're not just for grown-ups an longer". What an enlightened bunch law enforcement is. Enlightened as in lightened of the burden of intellect and compassion that is.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on August 05, 2003 at 09:35:54 PT:
Randy White, Prohibitionist
This same Randy White railed against the Kubbys claiming they, as refugee claimants, were "abusing [the] system."The refugee board in Vancouver is considering claims from two medical marijuana activists facing U.S. drug charges. Canadian Alliance MP Randy White says the claimants are abusing Canada's refugee system. "They're evading the law, and they're occupying precious time at refugee board hearings where genuine refugees should be getting the time," said White. --B.C. Web Site Advises 'Pot Refugees' from U.S. you say mean-spirited? Why does the press continue to let this troglodyte loom so large in the public consciousness?ego transcendence follows ego destruction, if I am not for myself, who will be for me; if I am for myself only, what am I; if not now, when?
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