Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jan 2002
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Norm Siefken
Note: Norm Siefken is the local Marijuana Party candidate


Re: M.P. Keith Martin's "decriminalization" of cannabis

The House of Commons is planning a vote on marijuana "decriminalization" in 
2002. Many marijuana users believe they will be free to enjoy a joint 
without any police harassment if Bill C-344 becomes law. They are sadly 

Alliance M.P. Keith Martin is blowing smoke and hot air with his Bill 
C-344. Martin's bill is an insult to the majority which wants an end to the 
costly and ineffective weed war. Bill C-344 does not mean the war on pot 
will end.

Bill C-344 does not respect the wishes of most Canadians. According to 
reliable polls, about 50% of Canadians want marijuana "legalized". When the 
word "decriminalized" is used the support jumps to over 75%. Martin's bill 
is a slap in the face of this overwhelming majority.

The word decriminalization, as used by Martin, is misleading. The millions 
of Canadians who prefer marijuana to booze will still be treated as 
criminals if Martin's bill becomes law. Steep fines will be imposed and 
those who wish to dispute the charges will be forced to fight in the 
courts. In most cases Martin's fines will be greater than those which are 
now typical.

The police will still be free to harass and threaten marijuana smokers. 
Many innocent Canadians (and their dogs) have been shot by violent "green 
teams" storming into houses. In one case a trigger-happy SWAT team opened 
fire at a toddlers birthday party. Martin's bill does nothing to end this 
government sponsored terrorism.

Martin's bill just repackages the unpopular war on pot in a different 
wrapper. Marijuana users will still be treated as second class citizens 
while Jean Chretien, Keith Martin and most M.P.'s will still be free to 
enjoy booze in peace.

The bill does take a baby-step in the right direction by ending criminal 
records for casual marijuana users, but it does nothing to end the 
hypocritical war on pot. The adjective hypocritical is appropriate because 
these laws are largely written and enforced by booze drinkers, and medical 
science shows that booze is much more harmful than marijuana.

So nothing major will change if Martin's bill becomes law. Millions of 
Canadians will continue to disrespect the law by lighting up a joint 
whenever they feel like it, and we will continue viewing the RCMP and our 
government with justified contempt.  The fight to legalize marijuana will 
only end when marijuana enjoys the same legal status as alcohol.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth