Pubdate: Fri, 22 Apr 2005
Source: Orillia Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005, Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Janis Leering
Bookmark: (Mandatory Minimum Sentencing)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop is happy to dish out some criticism,
now that the government has introduced a bill about marijuana-grow
operations. "This is the first time I've been able to debate
something, because the Liberals have brought out this legislation
oriented to community safety," said Dunlop, progressive conservative
critic for Community Safety.

The government's proposed bill on marijuana grow operations will make
it easier for home inspectors or hydro officials to report a home if
they suspect a problem.

"This isn't doing anything in the big picture. What police really need
is more resources, particularly more new officers like this government

For the past two years, Dunlop has been questioning the Liberals about
hiring 1,000 new police officers, which was part of their campaign

Dunlop is hoping the government will increase jail time for people
convicted of running a grow op.

"A minimum sentence of at least two years would have more impact than
hefty fines, which to drug criminals, are just the price of doing
illegal business."

Dunlop also said the bill does nothing to address chemical labs in
people's homes.

"If it talked about chemical labs, that would give the bill some

While he may be critical of the government's new bill, Dunlop said he
does agree it is a good first step, but believes it could be stronger.

Local MP Paul DeVillers agrees more should be done for criminals
dealing in drugs, but believes small amounts of marijuana should go
without penalty.

"Let us not waste our time, energy and money for possession of small
amounts for kids," he said.

"Give them a ticket, give them counseling, but put the real efforts on
the grow-ops and the traffickers."

A federal drug strategy that proposes softer penalties for possession
of small amounts of marijuana also takes aim at those involved in its
production and sale, noted Simcoe North MP Paul DeVillers.

"It says to judges, if you do not give grow-op people jail time, you
have to give reasons why you are not," he added.

"The government wants to see people do jail time who are caught
trafficking and who have grow-ops."

Decriminalization will free up resources that can be used to ferret
out large-scale pot producers, said DeVillers, who chairs a committee
studying Canada's drug laws.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin