Pubdate: Fri, 13 Feb 2004
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The London Free Press
Author: Canadian Press
Note: The bill is on line at
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


OTTAWA -- The federal government reintroduced a bill yesterday to
decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana, but failed
to reduce the maximum threshold from 15 grams. Any changes would have
to be proposed by MPs, an official in the Prime Minister's Office said.

The government wants the law to pass before the next federal election,
expected in the spring, in the hope of muting any criticism.

The bill was reintroduced at third reading, meaning it won't have to
be re-examined by a parliamentary committee. That would change if the
House of Commons reduces maximum possession to 10 grams, as was
suggested by some Liberal and Conservative MPs.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said that while marijuana use must be
discouraged, possession of small amounts shouldn't result in a
criminal record.

As it stands, the proposed law wouldn't impose criminal sanctions for
possession of enough pot to make about 20 joints. However, fines of up
to $400 could be imposed for adults, less for youths.

The legislation would increase maximum penalties for the producers of

The Senate would review the bill for several weeks after it passes the
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake