HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Czar Talks About Tightening At Border
Pubdate: Thu, 12 Dec 2002
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2002, The Globe and Mail Company
Authors: Kim Lunman and Shawn McCarthy


OTTAWA -- The U.S. drug czar said yesterday that anybody who thinks
marijuana is not addictive is stuck in "the reefer-madness seventies."

"There's not a question about whether marijuana is a dependency-producing
substance today," John Walters told Canada AM in an interview broadcast
yesterday. "Some people seem to be living with the view of the
reefer-madness seventies."

Mr. Walters made his comments on the eve of a parliamentary report on the
non-medical use of drugs that is expected to recommend decriminalizing some
marijuana possession.

The report is to be released in Ottawa today.

It was another verbal volley over the border in an escalating debate on
effective drug strategies. The United States is waging a zero-tolerance war
on drugs, while the Canadian government is moving toward decriminalization
of marijuana.

Some fear that the growing tolerance toward marijuana in Canada may cause
tougher measures at the border, particularly in British Columbia, where
marijuana has become a major cash crop.

Mr. Walters, who met with members of both the parliamentary committee and
the Senate committee that recommended legalizing marijuana, said border
security in the United States is being heightened to stop the flow of drugs
and terrorism.

"The issue for us is that Canada has become a major supplier of certain
drugs," he said. "We're worried about the common health of our citizens. But
we're, in the United States, mostly worried about obviously our own
citizens, as we should be. We have major supply coming in from Canada that's
growing and we need to get on top of it."

Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, who is in charge of U.S.-Canada border
relations, said he is not aware of a specific threat from the United States
to tighten the border in response to the proposed relaxation of marijuana

Mr. Manley was in Washington late last week, meeting with U.S. Homeland
Security Director Tom Ridge.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh