Pubdate: Fri, 19 Dec 2003
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Bill Rodgers, Sun Ottawa Bureau
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Wife's Brownies Had 'Strange Taste'

OTTAWA -- The prime minister was never a pothead but he's hinted that he 
nibbled on a hash brownie or two in his youth.

Paul Martin, in a year-end interview with CTV, was asked whether he had 
ever smoked marijuana.

"I never smoked anything," said the PM. But he did say his wife Sheila once 
baked some unusual brownies.

"I will tell you that there was an earlier time many years ago when Sheila 
made brownies and I must say they did have a strange taste."

In several wide-ranging television interviews yesterday, Martin vowed to 
reintroduce a Chretien government bill that would decriminalize possession 
of small amounts of pot.

The issue has become an irritant in Canada-U.S. relations. Martin, however, 
said Canada would make its own decision based on its own values.

"I think it's important to make clear to the Americans that we are not 
talking about legalization and that there are going to be heavy fines 
(based on quantity) and we're going to go after the grow-ops.

"We're going to go after those who distribute it."

The PM reiterated that he doesn't think somebody should have a criminal 
record for the rest of his life for possessing a tiny quantity of marijuana.

Martin also waded into the controversial issue of same-sex marriage, saying 
his support rests on court rulings that are based on the Charter of Rights 
and Freedoms. But he declared that nothing would happen until all sides 
have been heard.

"People are entitled to have a national debate," he said. "They're entitled 
to see both sides of the question. That hasn't happened yet and it's got to 
happen in Parliament."

The PM said there would be a vote on the options presented and MPs won't be 
bound by party discipline.

"It's certainly going to be a free vote - absolutely."

The 65-year-old Martin also toyed with questions about how long he would 
like to stay as prime minister. He told CPAC he thought two terms would be 
about right. He told CTV that he has often thought 10 years was the ideal 
amount of time to make an impact.
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