NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- December 23, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- December 23, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on December 23, 2003 at 18:38:56 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Canada's Supreme Court Rules 6-3 In Favor Of Continuing Marijuana Prohibition December 23, 2003 - Ottawa, ON, Canada"Parliament is open to decriminalize or otherwise modify any aspect of the marijuana laws that it no longer considers to be good public policy."
Ottawa, Canada: The Canadian Supreme Court announced its ruling today in the case of Malmo-Levine, Caine and Clay, which sought to overturn Canada's marijuana laws as being unconstitutional. The court held that the country's laws prohibiting possession of small amounts of marijuana do not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. Constitution.The justices ruled that any changes in the law must derive from Parliament."We conclude that it is within Parliament's legislative jurisdiction to criminalize the possession of marijuana, should it choose to do so," said the decision, co-written by Charles Gonthier and Ian Binnie. "Equally, it is open to Parliament to decriminalize or otherwise modify any aspect of the marijuana laws that it no longer considers to be good public policy."The Canadian Supreme Court decision indicates that signatories to the 1961 United Nation's Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics, which include Canada, can modify their domestic drug laws, notably marijuana laws, towards a Dutch-like system of decriminalization and tolerance for adult use of marijuana.The decision comes as the Canadian Parliament prepares to reintroduce legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. New Prime Minister Paul Martin will reintroduce a bill to eliminate criminal penalties, including potential jail time and lasting criminal records, for those caught with small amounts of marijuana. The bill also seeks to increase the penalties for large-scale growers and traffickers.Martin says that he supports decriminalization in "very, very, very small amounts" and has invited Parliament to reduce the amount of marijuana for personal use from the original 15-gram proposal.In a separate decision the court also upheld by 9-0 federal law prohibiting possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.University of Toronto law professor Alan Young, who represented Christopher Clay, told The Canadian Press, "Most of the justifications for [marijuana] prohibition have been called into question" in this Supreme Court decision.NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, "A ruling against marijuana prohibition by Canada's highest court would have been a terrific holiday present to the millions of marijuana consumers and medical patients in Canada - and around the free world."However, the decision affirms that marijuana can and should be decriminalized in Canada. More importantly, it puts to rest the U.S. government-promoted myth that a country can't decriminalize marijuana - or legalize it - without violating existing international treaties," said St. Pierre.For more information on the Canadian Supreme Court decision Malmo-Levine, Caine and Clay v. Crown, contact NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre at 202-483-5500 or NORML Legal Committee member (and Caine lawyer) John Conroy, 604-852-5110 -- Text of the decision available at: Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Ban End To Year of Pot Activism Highs Supreme Court Upholds Legal Ban on Pot NORML Foundation (DC)Published: December 23, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Dec. 18, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Dec. 11, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Dec. 4, 2003
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment