A Personal Newsletter on the Cannabis Controversies / Date: 04/22/99
Freedom has nothing to fear from the truth.
Canadian Police Chiefs To
Support "Decriminalization" Of Marijuana.
|(Marijuananews note: This is very important.
This move will get support from much of the Canadian press, and from many politicians.
However, there will be very strong opposition from DEAland behind the scenes. Of course,
DEAland cannot be too obvious, or there would be a backlash.
If the Canadians are really concerned about DEAland pressure, then they can always point out that marijuana is "decriminalized" in several large states.
If this happens, "decriminalization" of small growing and dealing of
marijuana will follow. This is the way the Dutch system evolved. The process has already
begun in Western Canada.)
"Theyd sooner go after someone trafficking cocaine than someone who grows pot
because a coke addict is more likely to rob a bank." Realistic Priorities Over Ideology?
COPS STIR UP THE GREAT POT DEBATE
Feds Urged To Decriminalize Possession
Parliamentary Bureau Justice Minister Anne McLellan is receptive to a pitch by the countrys top cops to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and hash.
"Were going to take a look at this and well see where it leads us," McLellan said yesterday.
"I think this is a significant move on the part of the chiefs and they are a very influential voice."
The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs say they could maximize their dwindling resources by targeting organized crime instead of busting potheads.
The associations board has adopted a policy that calls on the federal government to give police the option of charging someone with 30 grams or less or issuing a ticket and fine or community service.
Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana or a derivative is a summary conviction punishable by a maximum six months of jail or a $2,000 fine. A conviction under the act does not carry a criminal record.
Brockville Police Chief Barry King says that while the association opposes legalizing illicit drugs, it supports decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish when a conviction does not give rise to a criminal record.
King said if police caught someone on a schoolyard with 20 grams of pot, there would be no ticket issued.
(Marijuananews note: On a school yard? What an interesting example. Prohibitionist propaganda is addictive.)
The chiefs would support decriminalization only if the government also introduced prevention and education programs, counselling and treatment for users and addicts, and diversion programs such as drug courts or community sentencing.
"All we want to do is add another tool to the toolbox. Were not giving up the ghost on drugs, absolutely not," said King, who heads the associations drug abuse committee.
The government is studying the use of marijuana for medicinal
purposes. The chiefs say they will abide by whatever Health Canada decides with regard
to allowing the use of any illicit drug for that purpose.
78 Percent Of Canadians Favor Medical Marijuana What Is Rock Waiting On? DEAland?
The chiefs are motivated by statistics indicating year after year that about half of marijuana charges processed every year stem from simple
possession, said King.
Copyright: 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Police chiefs get through to the top
OTTAWA - Anne McLellan, the Justice Minister, said yesterday the federal government will give serious consideration to a recommendation from Canadas police chiefs to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana and hashish.
The board of directors of the Association of Canadian Police Chiefs has approved the decriminalization proposal, but insists that provincial and federal governments direct more funding to treatment of drug abuse as well as educational prevention programs.
Under the proposal, anyone convicted of possession of a small amount of marijuana or hashish would pay a fine that could be settled out of court on a first offence. The police chiefs believe this would clear a backlog of drug cases in the courts and allow them to focus their resources on more serious crimes, like drug trafficking.
"We as a government take the resolutions of the Canadian chiefs very seriously," Ms. McLellan told reporters. "Obviously the police have concerns about maximizing the use of their resources and certainly this is part of a larger debate about how we should deal with certain aspects of the possession or use of drugs."
Ms. McLellan said she will discuss the proposal with the chiefs at their annual meeting this summer, noting they have a lot of credibility with the public.
Barry King, the Brockville, Ont. police chief who headed the associations drug awareness task force, said they are not recommending decriminalization of other forms of narcotics such as heroin or cocaine, as some chiefs had thought to be the case.
However, Mr. King said the ACPC will not object to the medical use of morphine or heroin, providing the use has been properly approved by Health Canada and sufficient safeguards are in place.
"If they go through the assessment process and determine there is a benefitwere not saying there isbut if they do then we will accept that," he said. "All we are saying is that when they do that, that there is safeguards such as safe storage, prescription monitoring and that sort of thing."
Mr. King said not only do the police want governments to do more to deal with drug abuse, but they are asking for increased financing to combat organized crime smuggling drugs into Canada.
The police chiefs proposal was condemned by the Reform party as a "slippery road" to legalization of narcotics that could have far-reaching consequences for Canadian society.
Copyright: Southam Inc.
Freedom is NORML!