Pubdate: Thu, 06 Mar 2014
Source: Guardian, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2014 The Guardian, Charlottetown Guardian Group Incorporated
Author: Lee-Anne Goodman
Page: A10


Options may include ticketing only for those with small amounts

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is seriously considering more
lenient marijuana laws that would allow police to ticket anyone caught
with small amounts of pot instead of laying charges, Justice Minister
Peter MacKay said Wednesday.

"We're not talking about decriminalization or legalization," MacKay
said following the weekly Conservative caucus meeting on Parliament

"The Criminal Code would still be available to police, but we would
look at options that would ... allow police to ticket those types of

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is open to such an approach, he

MacKay has hinted in the past that such a move was under
consideration. The country's police chiefs - as well as some Tory
caucus members - have long called for ticketing people for pot
possession instead of laying criminal charges.

But MacKay has also been among the Conservatives' fiercest critics of
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's stance on the issue. Trudeau supports
the legalization of marijuana, a position the Tories have mocked with
gleeful abandon.

MacKay accused the Liberal leader of promoting drug use to elementary
schoolchildren last fall after Trudeau answered a question about his
marijuana policies from First Nations high school students in Sioux
Valley, Man.

There were elementary school kids in the audience at the

"Justin Trudeau's comments to elementary school children regarding the
legalization of marijuana is not only bad policy, but is completely
unacceptable and grossly inappropriate," MacKay said in a statement at
the time.

"He's directly delivering a message to children now that recreational
drug use is OK."

In fact, Trudeau had responded to the question in Sioux Valley by
saying that marijuana was dangerous for young people. He added that he
believed that regulating pot would help keep it out of the hands of

The Liberal leader called on MacKay to retract the comments, calling
them "shameful."

Trudeau wasn't in the House of Commons on Wednesday, but Liberal MP
Sean Casey said the Conservative shift "is almost surprising, but it
really isn't because this government will do or say anything to win"
as a 2015 federal election looms.
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