Pubdate: Fri, 12 Nov 2004
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2004 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Re: the proposed marijuana-law reform, Bills C-16 and C-17.

Because of current laws, teens are buying cannabis from other teens in
playgrounds. This often puts them in contact with truly dangerous
drugs like crack cocaine and crystal meth, and sometimes even weapons.
The Liberals' proposed alternative-penalty legislation does nothing to
address this problem.

What's more, the imposition of fines makes no sense in the case of
behavior that doesn't harm society. Instead of a fine, why not a tax?
The penalty for nonpayment of fines can include jail time, which
brings us back to "jailing people for possession of a herb."

By the way, the $300 fine for possession of one gram of hashish (which
is safer than bud) is double the fine that would apply for possession
of 15 grams of cannabis. What's the rationale behind that?

And if law enforcement has the discretion to issue a court summons for
a fourth possession offence, that implies a record of previous
cannabis possessions accessible to U.S. border authorities, which
could significantly affect one's ability to travel.

Finally, the proposed penalties for cultivation are outrageous.
Increasing the penalties would likely increase the street price of pot
significantly, giving growers and dealers a big raise.

Prohibition has been a failure, and the sooner we accept this, the
better. The media should do more stories on these issues, and give
equal voice to law-reform advocates to offset police and government

Russell Barth,

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