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Canadian Pot Law Change To Bring Increased Border

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Canadian Pot Law Change To Bring Increased Border Security, U.S. Says


December 19, 2002 - Washington, DC, USA


Washington, DC: U.S. officials will consider tightening security along the U.S./Canadian border if Parliament moves forward with plans to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of up to 30 grams of marijuana, according to statements made recently by Drug Czar John Walters.


"It's not my job to judge Canadian policy," Walters said. "But it is my job to protect America from dangerous threats, [and] ... we have to make security at the border tougher because [marijuana] is a dangerous threat to our young people and [decriminalization] makes the problem of patrolling the border more difficult."


Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon announced last week that he would propose legislation in Parliament within the first four months of 2003 to decriminalize marijuana. Cauchon's statements came after a pair of Canadian Parliamentary reports advocated liberalizing the country's pot laws.


Walters and other U.S. bureaucrats have directed repeated threats toward Canada and other nations that have considered decriminalizing marijuana. Earlier this year, Walters said that that the U.S. would impose trade sanctions against Canada if Parliament were to loosen its marijuana policies. Last year, government officials threatened to withhold foreign aid from Jamaica if they moved forward with a Parliamentary recommendation to decriminalization pot.


NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre found Walter's latest rhetoric unsurprising. "The United States has a history of exporting its failed drug policies throughout the globe, and using strong-arm tactics to ensure that other nations do not depart from those policies," he said. Nonetheless, St. Pierre dismissed Walters' latest comments as no more than "saber rattling."


"Ultimately, Canada's rejection of America's 'do drugs; do time' policies will prove to be too much for U.S. politicians to ignore," he said.


Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has downplayed Walters' statements and said that Canada will move forward with decriminalization as anticipated.


In recent years, Parliament has legalized the use of medical marijuana by qualified patients as well as the cultivation of industrial hemp by licensed farmers. Both activities remain strictly illegal under U.S. federal law.


For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Copies of last week's Canadian House Special Committee report is available online.

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