The Maple Leaflet Vol. 1 # 2 (JUNE 1996)

The Monthly Newsletter from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws In Canada

Umberto Iorfida - Editor (posted to web by W. Carroll)

    Special Feature

  1. ** POW's in Canada ? Yes, Prisoners of Weed !

    Regular features
  2. ** Contact NORML Canada.
  3. ** Starting a Chapter
  4. ** Petitions send a message.
  5. ** BACK to MAIN MENU (at Newsletter selections).

Contact NORML Canada

N.O.R.M.L. CANADA wants to hear from you. All letters, rally announcements, news articles, bust reports, from across the country are welcome. We will compile the data and prepare presentations to the SENATE OF CANADA.

We welcome all submissions such as announcements of the opening of hemp shops, book releases, and your tips for citizen action. Always include an LSAE.

NORML Canada
Umberto Iorfida, President
tel. 905 833-3167 :: fax 905 833-3682 :: EMAIL NORML Canada now (iorfida@interlog.com)

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starting a chapter

Starting a Chapter

Inquiries for chapters have been coming in from many parts of Canada. To form a chapter in your area, ten (10) paid members are required. Any person wishing to do so, may be the spokesperson for that chapter and send for our Chapter Start-up Kit . Each Kit request must be accompanied by a $15.00 M.O. or by certified cheque. This fee is refundable on certification of the chapter. For more information, write to N.O.R.M.L. Canada ;


Persons involved with the formation of a chapter of N.O.R.M.L. Canada, may find the following useful. We will try to include a few helpful facts in this column each issue.

The location and premises of the chapter should openly display three things : 1) a Canadian Flag, 2) A copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights, and 3) a copy of the Constitution of Canada. Optional is a fourth item : 4) a copy of the Declaration on the Decade of Disabled Persons. All of these are available from your M.P. or directly from Supplies and Services Canada in Ottawa.

The Charter of Rights guarantees your right of assembly. To display the Charter is patriotic.

The Declaration of the Disabled Persons, is a commitment to disabled people, providing for access to medical remedy, and to seek same wherever it is available.

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Petitions Are People Power

In order to communicate our specific goals to government, and to show our real strength, over the years, N.O.R.M.L. Canada has utilized member and non-member participation by way of petitions. Petitions are the shortest route to citizens action. The general feeling that one person can not make a difference could not be further from the truth. It has been the power of the individual joined with many other individuals on petitions that has helped this country build its future.

Statistics Canada indicates that as of 1992, 2.9 million people in Canada possess a criminal record for drug charges. Dr. Patricia Erickson, (Head Scientist, Addiction Research Foundation) decried at a Western University, London Ontario, Canadian Cannabis Policy Conference, that 85% to 90% of those charges were cannabis related. Further, 85% to 90% of those charges were for simple possession of marijuana. This population of approximately 2.3 million people may account for only half of the Canadian population affected by the cannabis issue. For too long this group of otherwise law abiding citizens has been systematically abused. Police raids, newspaper smear campaigns, and other harassment, perpetrated by the very government which operates under the name "democracy", has effectively denied marijuana users any participation in the processes of government.

One of N.O.R.M.L. Canada's missions is to create a gigantic nationwide petition drive to clearly and strongly send a message to Parliament.

For copies of this petition, please write N.O.R.M.L. CANADA. Be sure to include an LSASE PER REQUEST. M.P's. wishing to represent constituents in their riding that require representation in this issue are asked to contact N.O.R.M.L. CANADA. Please include your position on the issue of Cannabis in Canada.

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No More P.O.W.'s

Canada with P.O.W.'s you ask? Yes! Prisoners Of Weed, that is. In the last thirty years Canada, in its fervent effort to eradicate drug abuse, has taken 2.3 million paperwork prisoners in a Drug war. This war has been one sided. The number of users of Cannabis has surfaced in the statistics of the drug arrests. It is clear that the statistics are not reflective of an increase in use. They are rather an indication of widespread existence of the use of cannabis and that the statistics merely have identified a large portion of the population that are and have been involved in the cannabis issue. Canada is bound by the "Singles Convention" global agreement on drug related policy. This treaty dated December 31, 1972, contained "Measures against Drug Abuse", Article 15, which was an amendment to article 38 of the original 1961 Singles Convention treaty.

This 1972 amendment provides :

1) The parties shall give special attention to and take all practicable measures for the prevention of abuse of drugs and for the early identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the persons involved, and shall coordinate their efforts to these ends.

2) The parties shall as far as possible promote the training of personnel in the treatment, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of abusers.

At no point in the convention does it say "incarceration." Putting people in jail for USING cannabis is not part of the program. USING cannabis is not the same as ABUSING cannabis. This distinction is what makes alcohol legal. However, abusing alcohol (a good example would be "driving while impaired") is a criminal offense. Responsible adults have used alcohol recreationally since prohibition in the early part of the century.

Prohibition of Alcohol did not stop people from using it. Prohibition was implemented because unscrupulous persons were producing poison booze, and black market distribution was widespread. Prohibition made matters even worse. Non standard production and availability to young people became common place with prohibition.

It soon became apparent that prohibition was failing. Today prohibition of cannabis is providing that same environment. Hugh profits and access to young people is possible only because of the illegality. The chain of distribution is easy to follow. It is not the growers, importers, and major distributors that provide young people with cannabis. Most of these people could be responsible members of the community, providing for other responsible people. The problem begins when young adults share with other young adults, who in turn provide younger persons, who in turn provide even younger people and so on. This results in ever increasing numbers of young inexperienced adults, being exposed, leading to arrests. If legal and proper channels were permitted to operate openly and under certain guidelines, it is probable that the issue of minors obtaining access would be greatly reduced and we would then be able to provide proper education and promote an era of RESPONSIBLE USE rather than IRRESPONSIBLE ABUSE. Further, the astronomical costs of the drug war could be put toward complying with the provisions of the Global Narcotics Control Treaties. These treaties allow for each signatory country to provide a system of control.

Canada has the right to determine its own course of action. We do not have to put people in jail for cannabis use. The decision that jail should be the answer was implemented by a group of people in the early 1920s. These people are all deceased, and made decisions based on pure myth and the data available then. Today's laws should be for the purpose of protecting our youth, not trashing them and Canada's future.

If you agree with Harm Reduction YOU SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE DEBATE. IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION YOU MAY BE PART OF THE PROBLEM. GET INFORMED. GET INVOLVED. IT'S YOUR FUTURE THAT IS AT RISK. You may already be one of the 2.3 million Canadians with a criminal record. If you are not and the laws are not reformed, you will at one point or another join the ever growing numbers. Your own family members or children may be convinced by propaganda that you are sick, and need help. JAIL IS NOT HELP. JAIL IS NOT EVEN REHABILITATION. JAIL WILL WRECK YOUR LIFE FAR WORSE THAN RESPONSIBLE USE OF CANNABIS. IF YOU ABUSE CANNABIS YOU NEED MEDICAL TREATMENT, NOT INCARCERATION. YOUR FAMILY, YOUR CAREER, YOUR FREEDOM, AND THE FUTURE OF CANADA's FREE CULTURAL EXPRESSION DEPEND ON CHANGE. ACT TODAY. JOIN N.O.R.M.L. CANADA AND BE HEARD NOW.

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