Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Parliamentary Committee To Recommend New Pot Law

Recommended Posts

Source: Globe and Mail


A special parliamentary committee will recommend tomorrow that Ottawa decriminalize possession and cultivation of marijuana in amounts less than 30 grams, The Globe and Mail has learned.


The recommendations, to be included in the report of the committee on non-medical use of drugs, will add weight to the suggestion of Justice Minister Martin Cauchon this week that Ottawa may move toward decriminalization as early as the new year.


Sources told The Globe yesterday that the committee, which has been working for 18 months, will recommend that users not receive a criminal record if caught with less than 30 grams. Individuals would be allowed to cultivate the same amount without criminal sanction.


Sources said the committee is not prepared to recommend how much to fine those caught with minimal amounts of the drug. The report will underline that trafficking in any amount will continue to be illegal.


However, the committee is not unanimous in its views: Canadian Alliance members argue that 30 grams is too much. They note that the Netherlands, one of the world's most liberalized countries with respect to cannabis, has an upper limit of six grams. The Alliance wants the limit set at five grams.


Raf Souccar, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said yesterday that the association supports "alternatives" like those put forward by the committee, but insists that rehabilitation and other measures must also be in place to discourage use.


The idea may get a rough ride later this week when U.S. drug czar John Walters weighs in on the notion in Buffalo, N.Y. Mr. Walters is a known opponent of the idea and has expressed concern about increased flow of Canadian marijuana to the United States.


Mr. Cauchon yesterday said he isn't worried that moves to decriminalize will strain bilateral relations. "There's a concern in our population with regard to marijuana," he said, adding that the government will consider a new drug strategy that would include more resources for enforcement. "As a country we're going to keep fighting drug smuggling and drug trafficking."


Randy White, the Alliance vice-chairman of the committee, said U.S. authorities are concerned both about decriminalization and the possession limit.


"Thirty grams, according to decriminalization people, amounts to about 30 or 40 joints," he said. "People caught with 30 or 40 joints don't have it for personal use. Those are the people standing in the school yard selling it."


Mr. White said 30 grams would be worth $50 to $80, an amount he considers too high.


Mr. Cauchon's suggestions for decriminalization miffed Alliance MPs on the committee, who felt upstaged by his remarks.


"I'm very frustrated Mr. Cauchon would preempt the report," Alliance MP Kevin Sorenson said.


Mr. Sorenson said the government must take the U.S. government's strong stance against illicit drugs into consideration when introducing legislation to liberalize marijuana laws.


"They're our biggest trading partners," Mr. Sorenson said. "We have to move cautiously on anything we do with legislation regarding illicit substances."


Mr. Sorenson, who supports most of the committee's recommendations, also opposes the controversial suggestion that Canada open three safe injection sites for heroin users in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver as pilot projects.


Ontario Premier Ernie Eves said yesterday the federal government is sending up trial balloons to divert attention from massive overspending on the gun registry and other federal scandals.


"If they wanted to change the channel, they certainly appear to have done that," he said at Queen's Park.


Note: Users and growers of small amounts would not face criminal prosecution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using the community in any way you agree to our Terms of Use and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.