Citing an "inside source," the Toronto Star reported on April 18 that the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chretien will unveil its long-awaited marijuana decriminalization bill in June as part of a broader National Drug Strategy. According to the Star's source, Chretien backs the proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a mere ticketable offense that will not create a criminal record. Chretien views the current state of marijuana laws in Canada, with sporadic and inconsistent enforcement, as a "basic injustice," the Star reported.

The government has made no decision on the cut-off weight for "personal use"; they think it should be somewhere between 10 and 20 grams, the Star reported. Thirty grams has been the dividing line between simple possession offenses and possible trafficking offenses, but the government appears to have heeded warnings that today's marijuana is more potent than earlier and seems prepared to accept a lower level.

According to the Star, Chretien and Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who has repeatedly vowed to introduce decrim legislation, have faced opposition within the cabinet. Cauchon has faced "an uphill battle" to persuade cabinet ministers John Manley, responsible for border security, Health Minister Anne McLellan, and Solicitor-General Wayne Easter to support decrim. McLellan, who replaced Alan Rock

Citing an "inside source," the Toronto Star reported on April 18 that the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chretien will unveil its long-awaited marijuana decriminalization bill in June as part of a broader National Drug Strategy. According to the Star's source, Chretien backs the proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a mere ticketable offense that will not create a criminal record. Chretien views the current state of marijuana laws in Canada, with sporadic and inconsistent enforcement, as a "basic injustice," the Star reported.

The government has made no decision on the cut-off weight for "personal use"; they think it should be somewhere between 10 and 20 grams, the Star reported. Thirty grams has been the dividing line between simple possession offenses and possible trafficking offenses, but the government appears to have heeded warnings that today's marijuana is more potent than earlier and seems prepared to accept a lower level.

According to the Star, Chretien and Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who has repeatedly vowed to introduce decrim legislation, have faced opposition within the cabinet. Cauchon has faced "an uphill battle" to persuade cabinet ministers John Manley, responsible for border security, Health Minister Anne McLellan, and Solicitor-General Wayne Easter to support decrim. McLellan, who replaced Alan Rock at the health ministry, stopped Rock's medical marijuana distribution plan dead in its tracks, while Easter is in charge of the federal lawyers who continue appeal court decisions challenging Canada's current marijuana laws.

-- END --
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Issue #284, 4/25/03 Editorial: International Singularity | Vienna: UN Reaffirms Prohibitionist Path, Cracks Appear in the Consensus as Clamor for Change Grows | Peru: Coca Farmers Claim Partial Victory After Meeting With President | If It's 20-Apr and We're in San Francisco, This Must Be NORML | California County, Patients Sue Federal Drug Warriors Over Medical Marijuana Raids | Newsbrief: Lying Tulia Undercover Cop Indicted for Perjury | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Unveil Marijuana Decriminalization Bill in June, Newspaper Says | Newsbrief: Brazilian Health Ministry Proposes Legalization of Drug Possession | Newsbrief: Russia Declares War on Drug Barons | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | New WOLA Report on Mexico's Military in the War on Drugs | The Reformer's Calendar
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