MADD, Police Groups Slam Proposed Pot Law

MADD, Police Groups Slam Proposed Pot Law
Posted by CN Staff on November 03, 2003 at 11:23:20 PT
By Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail Update 
Source: Globe and Mail 
Offering a renewed warning of the controversy that will erupt if the government holds a Commons vote to soften drug penalties, police and anti-drunk-driving groups levelled a broadside Monday at Liberal plans to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana.Mothers Against Drunk Driving teamed up with the Canadian Professional Police Association in Ottawa to denounce the proposed decriminalization. They were joined by Toronto deputy police chief Mike Boyd, chairman of the drug-abuse committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
Bill C-38 has passed first reading in the House of Commons and is being reviewed by a special parliamentary committee. It is one of several high-profile bills that could fall into limbo if the House rises early for its Christmas break, as has been predicted by various sources.Although opposed to the proposed legislative change for different reasons, all three parties at Monday's press conference are united in their demand that the government wait before moving ahead, saying that there are serious wrinkles that have to be ironed out.The national executive director of MADD, Andrew Murie, argued that it is foolish to soften penalties for marijuana use without at the same time developing ways to police motorists who drive under the influence of the drug.“We are urging the government to give the police the authority they need to detect and charge drug-impaired drivers prior to loosening the drug-possession laws,” he said. “It is a recipe for trouble on our roads, and MPs need to delay this bill until the proper public safeguards are in place.”The government sought less than two weeks ago to forestall this criticism, announcing plans to change the law to allow police officers to demand a sample of sweat or saliva from drivers they suspect to be under the influence of drugs. Critics responded then by accusing the government of approaching the problem backwards, of being determined to decriminalize marijuana and then only belatedly dealing with attendant problems.Deputy Chief Boyd warned that the government is rushing forward without properly assessing the dangers."There is nothing in this law that will deter or reduce marijuana use in Canada,” he said. “While we are not opposed to the use of alternative measures, such as a ticket, to deal with possession of very small amounts of marijuana ... police officers should retain the discretion to lay criminal charges where the circumstances warrant.”Taking a different tack, the president of the Canadian Professional Police Association, said that moves to lower the penalties for small-time possession of drugs send a conflicting message to the judiciary at a time when, he believes, they should in fact be cracking down much harder on commercial growing operations.“This government's response to the booming marijuana grow operations problem is seriously flawed and inadequate,” Tony Cannavino said. “First and foremost, minimum sentences are required to reinforce the seriousness of this crime.”“[Bill C-38] contains too many flaws to be pushed through,” he argued. “This marijuana bill is not what Canada needs right now, and we urge Parliament to listen to police and victims, and reject this bill until these issues have been corrected.” Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail Update Published: Monday, November 3, 2003 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links, MADD Jointly Urge Ottawa To Stop Pot Bill To Let Police Conduct Roadside Tests Proposes Changes To Allow Drug-Testing
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Comment #8 posted by schmeff on November 04, 2003 at 09:34:43 PT
Alternate Headlines:
Slave Holders Slam EmancipationExecutioners Try To Kill Anti-Capital Punishment BillIt's the vested interest, stupid.
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Comment #7 posted by goneposthole on November 03, 2003 at 20:21:00 PT
Cannabis is where the money is
“This government's response to the booming marijuana grow operations problem is seriously flawed and inadequate,” Tony Cannavino said. “First and foremost, minimum sentences are required to reinforce the seriousness of this crime.”“[Bill C-38] contains too many flaws to be pushed through,” he argued. “This marijuana bill is not what Canada needs right now, and we urge Parliament to listen to police and victims, and reject this bill until these issues have been corrected.”They want to keep arresting people to make money. It's a crummy business. No real benefit to society.Cannabis is the number one agricultural crop in Canada. It's where the money is. Why would you want to have penalties and incarceration when it is a money maker from the word go? Legalize it for medical use, recreational use, hemp seed, oil, and fiber products. It is a money machine.Quit wasting time on laws and legislation. Allow hemp and cannabis to grow. Be more fun than what is being done now. Good Lord 
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Comment #6 posted by Virgil on November 03, 2003 at 16:55:32 PT
The controversy will translate into delay
MADD should stay on drunk driving or become MAID, Mothers Against Impaired Driving. Canada should not be worried about ramming this new law through anyway until the Supreme Court rules. It does seems like the reports could be a little more factual as illustrated in the comments and the Canadian Senate Report that the media loves to ignore.Now did the recent period of free weed in Canada hurt anyone or push back progress? The laws were dead for 21 months before anyone knew there were no cannabis laws so maybe media silence saved of Canadian civilization. Or maybe people are getting real about substance abuse and are concerned about things that might kill them and cut cigarette smoking by 10% last year in Canada. Something caused the decline in the real world by real people-
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Comment #5 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 03, 2003 at 13:49:55 PT
Sirs,  In your article, you quote Andrew Murie, the executive director of MADD, as saying the proposal to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana "is a recipe for trouble on our roads". I believe he suffers from a common misconception - that marijuana impairs as much or more than alcohol. However, after extensive studying, the recent Canadian Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs concluded that "cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving." Their main recomendation? If a driver is using both cannabis and alcohol, lower the blood-alcohol limit from .10% to .04%.   If cannabis alone is relatively harmless, but alcohol alone can cause significant impairment, then why are the police and MADD supporting the status quo? Can't the question of impaired driving be considered separately from the overall legal status? Adults who drink peacefully in the privacy of their own home do not face arrest; why should the policy be different for marijuana?Canadian Senate Committee report (quote above from p19):
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 03, 2003 at 12:38:59 PT
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
Canadian Criminal Justice Association: AnnouncementNovember 3, 2003VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- More than 500 people from all components of the criminal justice field will be attending the Canadian Criminal Justice Association's 29th biennial congress in Vancouver this week. The theme of Congress 2003 is "Hope Beyond the Hurt - Drugs, Crime and Canadian Society." It is being held in the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel November 5-8. CCJA president Elizabeth White said the theme dovetails with the City of Vancouver's programs to address problems created by illicit drug use. "Delegates to the Congress are all familiar with the devastation caused by the spread of drug use in our cities. They come from the police, federal and provincial corrections, the legal profession and the judiciary, victims groups, the private sector and volunteer agencies, as well as international criminal justice organizations," Ms. White added. Mayor Larry Campbell, in welcoming Congress delegates to Vancouver, wrote that the "theme is close to my heart. The struggle to confront the problems of poverty and addiction have preoccupied me and my predecessor, Philip Owen." Former Mayor Philip Owen is the Honourary Chairperson of the Congress. Premier Gordon Campbell has also voiced his support to the Congress in a welcoming letter. "This is certainly a timely topic. I assure you that my government is committed to improving the health and well being of British Columbians by providing leadership in the areas of prevention, early education and treatment for drug use. I am certain that the information exchanged at the Congress will provide delegates with a greater understanding of the issues and solutions from a local, national and an international perspective." Former British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt will deliver the opening address at 9 a.m. on November 5. Dr. Patrick Smith, Vice President of Clinical Programs at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Will deliver the keynote address, immediately following Mr. Harcourt's opening remarks. Dr. Smith's topic will be "Drugs, Crime and Canadian Society - The Canadian and International Scene." National and International speakers will address the impact of drugs on society from a variety of perspectives. Speakers will include: - Dr. Christoph Burki, Medical Director, KODA, Heroin Assisted Treatment Centre, Berne, Switzerland on Supervised Injection Sites in Europe) - Commissioner Lucie McClung of the Correctional Service of Canada will address Congress 2003 on November 8 on the issues of drugs and their impact on Canadian prisons. - Eugene Oscapella, (LLB) a noted advocate for marijuana legalization will participate in a panel defending this view on the first morning - The Hon. Ben Skosana, Minister of Correctional Services, South Africa will present on Drugs and Crime: A South African Perspective.A series of plenary and workshop sessions will present issues related to drugs and the criminal justice system from a variety of perspectives. The Canadian Criminal Justice Association operates as an umbrella organization representing all elements of the criminal justice system, including the public. It exists to promote rational, informed and responsible debate in order to develop a more humane, equitable and effective criminal justice system. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:Bob Lusk
(604) 852-1490
Dennis Finlay
(604) 870-2680
Glenn Thompson
(613 )797 8718 - CELL
visit the Congress Web-sites:
or http://www.bccja.com
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Comment #3 posted by jose melendez on November 03, 2003 at 12:18:53 PT
Thanks, Hope.
Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance - U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS 808 078), Final Report, November 1993, Alcohol and Actual Driving Performance - U.S. Department of Transportation, National Traffic Safety Administration, DOT HS 808 939, July 1999 ing%20Study%20--%20DOT%20HS%20808%20939.htmCannabis and Road Safety: An Outline of the Research Studies to Examine the Effects of Cannabis on Driving Skills and Actual Driving Performance -  Dr G.B. Chesher Department of Pharmacology University of Sydney and National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre University of New South Wales. Robbe Marijuana's Effects on Actual Driving Performance Hall Alcohol and Other Drug Use in Commercial Transportation and Driving Impairment by Arthur J. McBay studies, and articles, many of which may overlap. I apoligize for that ahead of time.
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Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on November 03, 2003 at 12:11:16 PT
MADD? Quit wining!" . . . volunteers who drank 60 per cent of the legal drink-drive limit were less able to drive in a straight line or at a constant speed than those who had smoked a joint.  Unlike the tipsy drivers, they tended to be aware of their state and drove cautiously to compensate . . . "
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on November 03, 2003 at 12:06:07 PT
Canadian journalism is an oxymoron
What is wrong with these Canadian journalists?They're so polite and they write well but they are essentially airheads.The Canadian approach to journalism to avoid insulting the credibility of a police officer by checking into whether what he says is actually true.
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