Pubdate: Wed, 13 Feb 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist


February 13, 1998: Rebagliati Ordeal Revives Pot Debate

Stories from our pages over the last 150 years.

It would appear an outpouring of support by Canadians  for embattled
Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati has  been a mind-expanding
experience for parliamentarians.

Several federal politicians sniffed the wind Thursday  and said they
would welcome a Commons debate on the  subject of decriminalizing
marijuana use in the wake of  Rebagliati's positive test for pot at
the Winter Games.

The Whistler resident had his gold medal reinstated  Thursday by the
International Olympic Committee to  widespread applause in Canada.
Keith Martin, MP for  Malahat-Juan de Fuca, has long supported the
decriminationalization of marijuana "which is very  different from
legalization of marijuana."

Martin said from Ottawa that he expects Rebagliati will  come home to
Canada "revelling in his gold medal and  not his exploits with the
demon weed. NDP Leader Alexa  McDonough said Rebagliati's friendly
association with  pot smokers has highlighted the difference between
marijuana use and hard drugs.

In Victoria, marijuana proponent Ian Hunter called  Rebagliati's
ordeal "quite the victory for the sides of  liberty and freedom. It's
really highlighting the  stupidity and injustice of the drug war." The
owner of  the Sacred Herb, which has sold marijuana seeds, added:
"What it's done is once again put pot decriminalization  on the front
burner of public discussion."
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