Newsbrief: Canadian House Panel Will Call for Cannabis Decriminalization, Newspaper Says 12/6/02

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Citing "sources familiar with the work of the committee," the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal reported November 28 that the special House of Commons committee on the non-medical use of drugs will recommend that marijuana possession should be decriminalized and that people should be allowed to grow marijuana for personal use. A sister panel in the Canadian Senate earlier this year called for the outright legalization of marijuana.

According to the newspaper, the House panel's decriminalization scheme would leave pot possession illegal, but make it punishable only by a fine -- leaving no criminal record.

The supposed recommendation to allow growing may be the committee's way to avoid going the legalization route. "If you're going to decriminalize marijuana, where is a person supposed to get it?" one source told the Telegraph-Journal. The suggestion is that people will grow their own.

According to Eugene Oscapella of the Canadian Foundation on Drug Policy, the committee report will be released in two stages next week. On Monday, the panel will release the non-marijuana portion of its report, which the Telegraph-Journal said will include support for safe-injection sites and heroin by prescription. On Thursday, the committee will release the marijuana portion of the report. According to Oscapella, the panel is concerned that the marijuana recommendations will overshadow the recommendations on other drugs, thus the hard stuff first.

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