HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Potheads Smiling After Report
Pubdate: Thu, 05 Sep 2002
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Authors: Chris Doucette, Alan Findlay
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


But There's No 'Cause For Celebration' Just Yet

Proponents of pot were all fired up yesterday after hearing a Senate 
sub-committee wants marijuana legal.

But the buzz among advocates in Toronto is that the committee's 
recommendations will likely go up in smoke.

The committee's report on illegal drugs, released yesterday, said the 
current system of prohibition doesn't work, and that cannabis use should 
not be treated as a criminal issue. The report also recommended amnesty for 
the estimated 600,000 Canadians with criminal records for possession of the 

"I'm guardedly optimistic ... I don't think there is cause for 
celebration," Alan Young, a lawyer for marijuana users, said yesterday.

Ignored For 30 Years

Similar proposals have been ignored by the federal government for 30 years, 
he said, adding someone must champion the cause through the parliamentary 
process or it will be shelved again.

"This report does provide me with a great deal of ammunition though," he 
said, referring to his upcoming appearance before the Supreme Court of 
Canada in December where he will argue it is unconstitutional for 
recreational use of the drug to be a criminal offence.

"I think it's just a stall tactic once again," said Jim Brydges, a 
spokesman for the Toronto Compassion Centre, a supplier of marijuana for 
medicinal purposes.

Brydges, who has AIDS and uses marijuana to battle symptoms like nausea, 
said people are suffering while the government drags its heels.

"The fact that it's the right thing to do doesn't mean it's going to 
happen," said Neev Tapiero, founder of Cannabis As a Legitimate Medicine, 
another pot provider in the city.

Critics at Queen's Park spoke out yesterday against the recommendations.

"It's inconceivable to me that this issue should be raised before other 
more fundamental issues," said Ontario Attorney General David Young, who 
admitted to smoking marijuana once.

Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty, also a self-confessed pot dabbler in his 
younger days, said it would send the wrong message to children if pot was 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Alex