Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2009
Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Sun Media
Author: Sam Pazzano
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Ontario's Court of Appeal rapped the knuckles of a Brampton judge
Wednesday for saying the country's pot laws are insane" and jail sentences
don't stem the tide of marijuana use.

The appeal court said Judge J. Elliott Allen was bound by the law" and
should have imposed a jail sentence instead of 12 months of house arrest
on a Brampton marijuana producer.

Judges aren't permitted to let their personal views colour their
sentences, wrote Justice Michael Moldaver of the Court of Appeal.

Allen made it clear he has little use" for jail sentences for marijuana
offences, Moldaver stated.

Allen declined to give jail time to Zeyu Song, despite his admission he
ran a grow-op with 1,400 plants and stole $14,000 worth of hydro.

Nobody has been deterred. People have been going to jail for drug offences
for . . . a couple of generations now and the drug . . . plague is worse
than it ever was," Allen said.

The grow-op offender had no record and Allen saw no benefit to society for
jailing him.

The chances of a Dutch teenager smoking marijuana are substantially lower
than they are of an American teenager smoking marijuana. And the Dutch
teenager can walk down to the corner and get it at a coffee shop," Allen

Even conservative voices such as The Economist and the Fraser Institute
maintain that drug prohibition is an absolute failure and we would do less
damage to ourselves if the whole undertaking were dismantled," Allen said.

Ruling that Allen made legal errors, Moldaver stated courts must sentence
major grow operators to jail time because of existing legal precedents.

But the higher court refused to send Song to jail because he had already
served his conditional sentence.
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