Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jan 2003
Source: Arthur Enterprise News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Arthur Enterprise News
Author: Kris Svela
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Local MP Murray Calder doesn't want a free ride for pot users, even if 
moderate marijuana use is decriminalized.

Calder, MP for Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey and a Holstein chicken farmer, 
expects considerable debate on a movement to decriminalize the use of 
moderate amounts of marijuana. A recent report by a parliamentary committee 
suggested decriminalization of possession of up to 30 grams of pot or about 
60 joints.

Calder said he could support removing possession of 30 grams of pot from 
the Criminal Code, but added, users should face hefty fines. According to 
the MP the concern he has is that by decriminalizing possession of moderate 
amounts it leaves the message that pot use is alright.

Supporters of the move argue that by relaxing the laws governing marijuana 
use Canadian users won't face a criminal record for what some consider a 
minor offence. Those same advocates contend that relaxing the law will free 
up police to deal with more serious offences.

"As far as I'm concerned it's not acceptable," Calder said. "I want a fine 
attached to it and a damn good one of $5,000 to $10,000." The MP, who said 
he has never used pot, said in all likelihood moderate marijuana possession 
will be removed from the Criminal Code when the federal politicians debate 
the issue later this year.

Waterloo-Wellington MP Lynn Myers has not taken a stand on the issue 
because he sits on the justice committee for the House of Commons, which 
will deal with the issue within the next several months.

"I have to go in with my eyes open and ears open and listen to all sides of 
the debate," he said in a news interview.
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