Saturday, December 20, 2003


There's two big developments on the Canadian cannabis front. The Canadian Supreme Court is set to announce it's decision on the three related appeals of David Malmo-Levine, Victor Caine and Christopher Clay, who were all found guilty of marijuana possession. The trio are mounting a challenge based on the argument the Canadian Charter of Rights prohibits the government from creating criminal penalties for marijuana possession. There's been much speculation within the reform community that the timing of the announcement, weeks before it's legally mandated to released, bodes well for a favorable decision.

I tend to agree. How cruel would it be to move up the announcement to just before Christmas if the court was going to issue a negative decision? Three more days to see if we're right.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Paul Martin says he'll press ahead with legislation, first proposed under Jean Chretien, to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

...he insisted that it achieves "absolutely nothing to give a criminal record to young people caught with minimal amounts."

In response to bitter opposition from US, Martin had this to say:

"We are an independent nation," he reported in another yearend interview Thursday.

"We will make decisions based on our values and our interests. We're not going to make these kinds of decisions based on what somebody else thinks. We'll base them on what Canadians think."

The last bill introduced by former Prime Minister Chretien, was criticized within the reform community for increasing penalties and introducing mandatory minimum sentencing for offenses greater than simple possession. This may well turn out to be the same as Martin states,

"I think that one's got to take a look at the fines. I think that you have to take a look the quantities, and I think that there has to be a larger effort against the grow-ops and against those who distribute."

We'll we watching this story develop over the next few weeks however, quote of the day goes to this remark by Mr. Martin.

In a yearend interview Thursday with CPAC, the parliamentary public affairs channel, Martin confided he'd never smoked pot but said his wife Sheila once made some brownies "and I must say they had a strange taste."

I'm holding off judgment on Paul but I think I like Sheila already.


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