Newsbrief: New Canadian Prime Minister to Revive Marijuana Decriminalization Bill 12/12/03

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New Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, who replaced Jean Chretien today, supports Chretien's cannabis decriminalization bill and will allow members of parliament (MPs) to vote on it next month, his spokesmen told reporters in Edmonton, Alberta, Tuesday. But that vote will be a "free vote," where MPs are not bound by party discipline, and enough ruling Liberal Party MPs could vote against it to kill it.

Paul Martin
The Chretien decriminalization bill would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, but would increase penalties for all but the smallest marijuana grow ops. It has received a lukewarm reception from marijuana reform advocates, while exciting opposition from the US government.

And US Ambassador Paul Cellucci was quick to respond to the latest noises. "Our concern is the perception of this is that this is a weakening of the law... that it will be easier to get marijuana in Canada," said Cellucci -- who must be visiting the wrong parts of Canada if he finds it difficult to find marijuana now. "Our customs and immigration officers, they're law-enforcement officers. If they think it's easier to get marijuana in Canada, they're going to be on the lookout," he told the Toronto Sun.

Parliamentary vote or not, the issue could well be rendered moot by legal action. The Canadian Supreme Court is currently considering a trio of cases that challenge the government's ability to regulate marijuana possession. The decision in that group of cases could come any day.

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Issue #315, 12/12/03 Editorial: Steve Kubby IS a Refugee | Canada Denies Refugee Status to US Medical Marijuana Exile | Fallout Continues in Goose Creek, South Carolina, High School Drug Raid | DRCNet Interview: Darrell Rogers, Acting Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy | DRCNet Book Review: "A Drug War Carol," by Susan Wells and Scott Bieser (Big Head Press, $5.95) | Newsbrief: Bush Campaign Letter Attacks Drug Reform Funders | Newsbrief: Thai Government to Investigate Itself over Drug War Killings | Newsbrief: Bolivian Government Shifts Away from "Zero Coca" | Newsbrief: New Canadian Prime Minister to Revive Marijuana Decriminalization Bill | Newsbrief: Jamaican Solicitor General Warns Ganja Decrim Could Violate International Treaties, Invite US Retaliation | Newsbrief: Australian Prime Minister Says Injection Room Violates Treaties, UN Says No It Doesn't | Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana Approved by German Court | Newsbrief: West Virginia Supreme Court Grants Private Employers Greater Pre-Employment Drug Test Rights | Newsbrief: NYC Cigarette Tax Hike Leads to Black Market Violence | Newsbrief: Cop Kills Cop in Methamphetamine Raid Gone Awry | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar
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