Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 2009
Source: Now, The (Surrey, CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Tom Zytaruk


The federal government plans to establish mandatory minimum sentences 
for serious crimes involving drugs.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson made the announcement Friday, at the 
province's RCMP headquarters in Vancouver.

The proposed amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, 
if passed by parliament, would see one-year mandatory prison 
sentences for dealing marijuana in an organized crime context or when 
weapons or violence is involved. Further, dealing in harder drugs 
like cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines to youths, or for dealing 
near a school or youth hangout, would result in a two-year mandatory 
prison sentence.

Also, those caught running a marijuana grow operation with more than 
500 plants will receive a mandatory two-year prison sentence. 
Moreover, the maximum penalty for growing pot would increase from 
seven to 14 years imprisonment.

The feds are also proposing tougher penalties for dealing in 
date-rape drugs. Nicholson said drug growers and dealers "who 
threaten the safety of our communities must face tougher penalties.

"Our message to potential offenders is clear," he added. "If you sell 
or produce drugs, you will face jail time."
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