Pubdate: Sat, 06 Nov 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author: Jennifer Hourihan
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Educate, don't regulate.

That's how Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder sums up her position on
pot, as Ottawa begins work again on a marijuana decriminalization bill.

"Tobacco is a really good parallel," Crowder said. "You talk to people
about the health impact of the use of the substance. Talk to them like
alcohol education, that there is potential for impairment. I don't
think there's value in creating criminal offenders."

Bill C-17, reintroduced into the House of Commons for the third time,
would allow fines for possession of amounts of marijuana under 15
grams. Amounts between 15 and 30 grams would be at the discretion of
police to issue a ticket or press criminal charges, while possession
of larger amounts would remain a criminal offense.

"What the bill does is talks about a range of punishment for simple
possession, rather than just jail terms," Crowder said. "It's a
mechanism to look at a broad range of responses to

The House has approved sending the bill to the justice committee for
further review. Crowder said the NDP party approved sending it to the
committee, but want to see some changes before NDP members will fully
support it.

Those changes include amnesty for past convictions of possession for
small amounts of marijuana, not sharing records of possession tickets
with other countries' law enforcement agencies, and programs to
educate people about the health risks of marijuana use.
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