NORML's News Bulleton - May 24, 2001 

NORML's News Bulleton - May 24, 2001 
Posted by FoM on May 25, 2001 at 07:48:47 PT
Canada's MPs Get Serious About Decriminalizing MJ
Source: NORML
Ottawa, Ontario: Former Prime Minister and Conservative Party (Tory) leader Joe Clark (Quebec City) has thrown his support behind the growing political movement to remove criminal penalties for the use and possession of marijuana. Clark's decision comes one week after the House of Commons unanimously voted to assemble a special committee to review Canada's marijuana laws, and Justice Minister Anne McLellan said that it was "absolutely" time for Parliament to reconsider the ban on marijuana. 
Health Minister Allan Rock also recently spoke out in favor of reform, stating that he would "participate with enthusiasm" in the upcoming hearings and that it was "appropriate" to examine decriminalizing marijuana.  Parliament undertook a similar inquiry in 1972, resulting in the LeDain Commission report which recommended they "repeal the prohibition against the simple possession of cannabis." Although Parliament ignored their findings, public opinion polls show that support for legalizing marijuana has almost doubled since then. Approximately half of Canadians now say they favor marijuana legalization - up from 26 percent in 1975, according to a national survey released Monday by Ottawa's University of Lethbridge. More than 1,700 respondents participated in the poll.  NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup said that public and political sentiment is strongly skewed toward changing the law. "Canada appears poised to finally decriminalize marijuana, a move that will have an enormous impact on our own country's emerging drug policy debate," he said. "We share a common border, culture and language. Elected officials here will not be able to disregard and misrepresent the Canadian experience as they have done with the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe where criminal marijuana prohibition has been lifted. Once Canada stops arresting responsible marijuana smokers, it will become increasingly difficult for the U.S. to defend our own misguided policies."  Conservative leader Clark said Tuesday that he supported decriminalization because pot offenders must no longer be saddled with criminal records. "I believe the least controversial approach is decriminalization because it's unjust to see someone carry the stigma - to be barred from studying medicine, law, architecture or other fields where a criminal conviction could present an obstacle," he said. "My opinion is not necessarily shared by all members of my party, but it's the sort of approach we will favor." According to Monday's poll, three in 10 Conservative party supporters support liberalizing marijuana laws, compared with half of Liberal and Alliance party supporters. More than 60 percent of Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats back legalization, a position included in their party's political platforms.  Although marijuana remains criminally prohibited in Canada, the law is enforced far less stringently than in the United States. Justice statistics indicate that approximately 30,000 Canadians are arrested for marijuana violations annually, compared with more than 700,000 in the U.S. Earlier this year, Health Canada proposed regulations legalizing the drug for medical purposes. That plan is expected to take effect by July. In addition, Canada's top court is scheduled to consider later this year whether the laws prohibiting the possession and cultivation of marijuana are constitutional.  Last week, editors at the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) urged lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana, a position that is also advocated by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.Title: Former Prime Minister, Present Justice Minister Support Law Change; Nearly Half of Canadians Say Pot Should Be Legal  For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano at (202) 483-5500.Rock Open To Debate on Pot Legalization Drugs and Hard Crime Decriminalize Marijuana Nevada Assembly Backs Fine-Only Penalty for Marijuana, Medi-Pot Plan:  Carson City, NV: Assembly lawmakers overwhelming approved legislation Wednesday reducing marijuana penalties and authorizing its medical use. Nevada's present law - which defines the first time possession of even one joint as a felony offense punishable by up to four years in jail - is the toughest in the nation.  Legislators voted 30 to 12 in favor of a measure minimizing pot penalties from a felony to a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $600 fine. Second time offenders would be mandated to undergo drug treatment and face a $1,000 fine. The law change - which has been recommended by two state judicial review commissions in the past five years - would bring Nevada's marijuana penalties in line with those in the other 49 states.  Assembly Bill 453 also legalizes the use of medical marijuana by patients who have their doctor's approval to use the drug. State voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the use of medical marijuana in 1998 and 2000. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani (D-Las Vegas), would allow qualified patients to grow up to seven marijuana plants for medical purposes and establish a confidential patient registry. Because the proposal only exempts patients who use marijuana medically from state prosecution and does not legalize distribution of the drug, it appears unthreatened by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling.  "This implements the will of the people," Giunchigliani said, adding that she is confident Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) will sign the bill. Medical marijuana "is a states' rights issue which Nevadans hold dear. ... [This proposal is] not condoning drug use."  Giunchigliani's proposal now moves to the Senate, which has until June 4 to act on it.  For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano at (202) 483-5500. To learn more about A.B. 453, please visit: Senate Likely To Block Medical Pot Bill Defies U.S. Supreme Court Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Marijuana Bill Moves On in Legislature CannabisNews NORML Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #13 posted by lookinside on May 27, 2001 at 10:20:43 PT:
your opinion is right on the money...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by Lehder on May 27, 2001 at 03:10:51 PT
2 questions
1. what would be the effect on Our Drug War of a deep recession, massive unemployment and a zero-growth economy?Second time offenders would be mandated to undergo drug treatment and face a $1,000 fine.2. How much jail time to the person who refuses "treatment" ?What happens to 3rd 4th and 99th time Offendors for whom "treatment" is ineffective?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by FoM on May 26, 2001 at 21:49:50 PT
You sound like you are doing a good job! Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate them. We need parents to understand where their kids are coming from. Keep a teenager busy with activities that they enjoy and they will avoid drugs because they'll be too busy. Kids have a lot of energy and they need an outlet or they might find it in doing drugs. This is just my opinion though. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by lookinside on May 26, 2001 at 20:41:12 PT:
really good questions, FoM
agreed, FoM...all we can do is the best we know how...what i found out thehard way is that kids are oldest is one ofthose rare kids who listened and learned...she has avoidedalot of the problems associated with the teenage years...heryounger sister and brother are more inclined to make theirown mistakes, and learn the hard way(like me) of the things that i've discovered so far in life isthat (most) people DO learn...some just need more assurancesthat what their folks teach them is based on experience, andnot some power trip conspiracy(to keep them from having someREAL fun) by all the parents of the world...after they reach a certain age,all we can do is try to cushion them from serious injury orother problems associated with growing up...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on May 26, 2001 at 10:31:39 PT
lookinside then it sounds like parental responsibility is what needs to be addressed.When we bring children into the world it is our responsibility to raise them in a manor that we see as the right way. Each family is made up of different backgrounds, values, religious beliefs etc. and we need the right to do what we feel is best for our children. The government has no idea what makes individual families work. Some parents really make a mess of their job with their children but not everyone does but shouldn't we be allowed the right to find our own way and that includes mistakes because there is no school to teach a person how to be a good parent and even how we would determine what a good parent is?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by dddd on May 26, 2001 at 08:46:56 PT
Not illegal,,
Many good points brought up here....Of course,I would prefer legalization.......but that just aint gonna happen in our lifetimes,(maybe Marijuana,,dependingon how old you are).....It's true that decriminalization is not as good,,,and likeDoctor Dan B suggests,it would not solve any of black market problems,,,{ofcourse,,we have not yet actually defined what,"decriminalize" would mean},,but it is likely that the feds would try and set up some 'drug user registry,orlicense,so they could keep all the new prisons stocked...........Anyway,,I think that realisticly,legalization is extremely unlikely....I would be quite happy to just be able to grow my own,and be left alone...If that's what "decriminalization" would be,,,It would be a big victory,in an uphill battle.......................................................................................................................................................dddd
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by lookinside on May 26, 2001 at 08:41:26 PT:
really good questions, FoM
we have 3 kids, 20f 18f 15m...we've tried to be truthfulabout drugs...they've each tried pot with friends...they'veshown little interest in using it beyond those times theytried it in social situations...each admitted trying it andtold us about the situation/experience...we expressed ouropinion that using the stuff is dangerous to their freedomand reputation...(re: WOD) i'm hoping life for them doesn'trequire an "escape" from reality...under legalization, i would assume that the law would besimilar to alcohol...must be over 21, don't drive under theinfluence, have been drinking alcohol underage aslong as there has been an age limit...all we can do is praythat they don't get hurt along the way...that they loseinterest after trying it a few times...the same with pot...with the availability of pot and all the more dangerousdrugs, i believe legalization would eliminate some of thehazards associated with teenage experimentation...the drugwarriors have lied so long that their credibility will find out for themselves...part ofthat is thumbing their noses at those who chose to lie tothem...this isn't a perfect sometimes becomealcoholics, somewhat fewer become addicted to drugs...somerob convenience parents, all we can do is betruthful with them...i wish the government would do thesame...nurture instead of works better..
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 25, 2001 at 23:07:43 PT
Really Good Points Everyone
The news is slow and this is a good time to find out why we feel the way we do. I have a few more question for you to think about.If we believe that legalization is the better way how can we convince the opposition that the world wouldn't turn into reefer madness? How would a minor be treated under a legalization belief? I mean if they get caught smoking a joint. These are some of the questions that we need to have good answers for. I don't have any set ideas in this area and could use some advice. I know minors smoke but what do we tell parents that worry? I don't believe parents even if they smoke want their children to smoke. Maybe I'm wrong but maybe not. I'm not sure.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by lookinside on May 25, 2001 at 22:35:13 PT:
i vote legalization!
30 months ago i was arrested for wife hadbeen using the herb for years to ease her pain and othersymptoms associated with a variety of health problems...atthe time i had not smoked a fatty in over 5 years because ofpre-employment drug testing...i can live with notsmoking...what i HATE is not being able to GROW thismarvelous plant...i loved going out in my garden and seeing an eight footplant heavy with tops turning purple on a dewy morning inoctober...large garden spiders protecting the lady from allmanner of pests..rainbows in their webs...for me this was acalm time in a very busy life..truly therapeutic...trulyjoyful...our government took that away from me...i will never forgetor forgive...they are arrogant, criminalperverts...delighting in their power to injure their fellowcitizens...i sometimes wish for a real revolution...and the guillotineawaiting those who have damaged so many of theirneighbors...if the shrub decides to increase the WOD, who knows?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Dan B on May 25, 2001 at 20:47:49 PT:
I Agree, Charlie.
"Decriminalization" is not the answer to the many problems associated with drug prohibition. In fact, it is merely another form of drug prohibition, all painted up with a smiley face. What it does is remove the threat of prison for those who wish to buy ridiculously small quantities on the black market. What it does not do is remove the black market; in fact, it has the potential to increase the number of people buying on the black market, thus driving up profits for those who would sell. Not the answer.In order to get rid of the harms associated with the black market, we need to eliminate the black market. The only way to eliminate the black market is to legalize drugs (cannabis and other recreational drugs) altogether, then regulate the legal market to insure that the fewest possible number of minors can get these drugs. I read a proposal in a book today while I was waiting for an interview in the library. I forget who wrote the book, but it raised an interesting possibility. It said we should legalize all of these drugs, regulate them like alcohol in terms of sales, and require people, at age 18, to get a kind of "license" to use drugs, the requirements of which would be to insure that people know how to use drugs before they use them. I'm not so sure about this latter part. We don't license people to use alcohol or tobacco, both of which are more dangerous than these currently illegal drugs. And, if all drug users were required to have licenses, then the government would have a drug user database. This sounds very dangerous to me--a little like requiring all Jews to register with the German state in the 1930s and 40s. I can imagine a lot of people being evicted, fired, and worse just for having such a license. No, I think we need to regulate drug use in other ways: provide heroin maintenance programs for addicts; provide clean needle exchanges to decrease the spread of diseases through IV use; and require all sellers to provide "safer use" literature like that provided by Dancesafe, The Lindesmith Center, and others. These sound like sensible solutions.Of course, most prohibitionists think that it is fine and dandy to increase harms associated with drug use because what they really want is to destroy all drug users. Anyone who is opposed to harm reduction measures is, at the heart, in favor of mass murdering drug users. That's why people like William Bennett, John Walters, Asa Hutchinson, and John Ashcroft don't even flinch when confronted with the fact that under policies they endorse, more people have died from drug use than any other time in American history. These are the people to whom legalization, regulation, and harm reduction is hardest to sell.Dan B
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 25, 2001 at 18:46:32 PT
That's Ok I Undertsood
Hi Charlie, You bring up a point that we don't often talk about and that is to legalize or decriminalize.Do we all know what the difference is? I have my feelings about this but I'd rather others answer why they feel one way or the other and why. Maybe we will get some input and it could help.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Charlie on May 25, 2001 at 18:08:23 PT
US vs Cannada
Sorry, I was thinking US but replying to the Canadian article...
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Charlie on May 25, 2001 at 18:06:01 PT
Decrim vs Legal
This may be a step in the right direction but it doesn't address the black market, associated crime, violence and abuses resulting from prohibition. Still leaves buyers dealing with dealers on the street. Keeps cannabis prices absurdly inflated and much more expensive then heroin. Leaves cannabis users open to the predators (LEO) who want to make easy bust and feed the coffers of the state...need I go on.Why does this country want to suppress nearly 20 million of its citizens (tax paying and otherwise law abiding) thus creating a sub-class that fears the police and resents many of its other institutions?Free the weed.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: