Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2003
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Times Colonist
Author: Sam Mercer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Re: "It's dopey to encourage pot smoking," (May 12).

In a 2002 poll, 85 per cent of Canadians indicated that medical marijuana 
should be available under specific conditions. Earlier this year, 50 per 
cent of Canadians indicated they support decriminalization of marijuana. In 
moving to decriminalize marijuana, the federal government is simply, and 
reluctantly, following the will of the people.

In 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that Canada's marijuana laws 
are unconstitutional, and gave Ottawa one year to change the legislation. 
Ottawa did no such thing.

Courts in Toronto and Windsor have determined that current medical 
marijuana laws violate the constitution, and that current marijuana laws 
are invalid, respectively. The Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal 
Drugs recommended full legalization of marijuana in 2002. That report has 
essentially been ignored by the federal government.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien's colleagues responding to binding court 
decisions two years late hardly qualifies as "ramming ... legislation down 
the throats of Canadians." Simply because the writer disapproves of 
marijuana use, and finds it "socially offensive," does not give him the 
right to unilaterally condemn the opinions of the majority of Canadians, 
the recommendations of our Senate, and the rulings of many of our higher 

Sam Mercer, Victoria.
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