Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2003
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2003 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Sun Media
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
(Canadian Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs)


EDMONTON -- The federal government's controversial marijuana
decriminalization bill is coming back to the Commons in 2004 -- and
the U.S. ambassador is already warning of reduced border access for
Canadian trade and travel. And while U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci
acknowledged yesterday Canada has the right to set its own drug
policy, he warned Ottawa could be setting the stage for a border
crackdown if the bill makes weed easier to get here.

"Our concern is the perception of this is that this is a weakening of
the law ... that it will be easier to get marijuana in Canada," he
said during an Edmonton stopover.

"Our customs and immigration officers, they're law-enforcement
officers. If they think it's easier to get marijuana in Canada,
they're going to be on the lookout for it.

"That's going to put pressure on the border at a time when we've been
trying to take pressure off it. We don't want to have a lot of young
people having their vehicles inspected when they're crossing the border."

The bill's return might surprise a few of Paul Martin's longtime
supporters in caucus. Many backbenchers believed the prime minister
designate, anxious to avoid a confrontation with Washington, would let
the bill die a quiet death.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin