Newsbrief: Canada Prisons Propose Ignoring Inmate Cannabis Use 5/17/02

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In a proposal dated January 18 but just revealed over the weekend, the Correctional Service of Canada has proposed turning a blind eye to positive inmate drug test results for marijuana and hashish, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Saturday. Because of legal considerations -- cannabis is illegal in Canada -- the prison service proposed to continue testing for cannabis, but to ignore positive test results except when the drug use is considered problematic for the prisoner or could result in increased risk of criminal behavior.

The Correctional Service document, "Proposed Modifications to Urinalysis Program," described cannabis as a soft drug that sedates prisoners, does not impair their cognitive function and reduces violence. The paper added that marijuana has few side effects, is not a gateway drug and does not lead to dependence.

If implemented, the proposal would eviscerate the Correctional Service's "zero tolerance" policy on drugs. It would also lead to fewer sanctions against puffing prisoners and fewer people being returned to prison as parole violators for marijuana violations. The paper said marijuana users accounted for half of all positive drug tests.

The Correctional Service spent about $1.5 million US on drug tests on prisoners and parolees in 2000-2001.

The move is opposed by the prison guards' union, which accused the service of trying to hide a prison drug problem and save money.

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Issue #237, 5/17/02 Medical Marijuana Wars Heat Up: Activists Announce Day of Direct Action Against DEA, Plan Emergency Response to Expected Raids | Anti-Drug Ads a Flop, Says Drug Czar, Please Give Us Money for More | MarijuanaInfo.org: New Medical Marijuana Web Site Provides Forum for Warring Views, In-Depth Exploration of Issue | Budget Crunch I: As Oklahoma Goes Broke, Drug War Fuels Ever-Increasing Prison Budgets | Budget Crunch II: Massachusetts Vote Imperils All of State's Methadone Clinics, Supporters Mobilizing | Prison Reform Advocates Blast 7 UP Commercial for Trivializing Prison Rape, Call for Boycott of Cadbury Schweppes Product | Newsbrief: Nevada Petition Drive to Legalize Marijuana Possession Underway | Newsbrief: Madison Suspends Raves at County Venue | Newsbrief: Barr Booed for Anti-Pot Remarks in Home District Event | Newsbrief: Canadian Mounties Follow US Lead, Discover Drug-Terror Connection | Newsbrief: Canada Prisons Propose Ignoring Inmate Cannabis Use | Newsbrief: Afghan Warlords Allied to US Growing Rich Off Opium Trade, Says Expert | Newsbrief: Dionne Warwick Busted for Marijuana at Airport Amidst Heightened Airline Security | Newsbrief: Pipe Bong Found in Rural Illinois Mailbox | Clarification from Dana Beal | Articles and Resources | The Reformer's Calendar
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