HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html US Ambassador Warns Of Longer Border Lineups
Pubdate: Fri, 02 May 2003
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2003 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Bill Rodgers
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


OTTAWA -- Softer Canadian laws on pot possession for personal use could 
cause longer lineups at the border, the U.S. ambassador to Canada warned 

Paul Cellucci said it's an "internal decision" for Canada to make.

But he said in an interview: "The only concern we have is (if it will) have 
an impact on the border because we're trying to make sure that we take 
pressure off the border."

The ambassador noted U.S. customs and immigration officers are there to 
enforce the law.

"If you're a law-enforcement officer and if you think that something is 
more readily available here, your antennae are going to be up as people 
cross the border and it will probably lead to more inspections," said Cellucci.

U.S. officials began expressing concerns this week when Prime Minister Jean 
Chretien said legislation to decriminalize simple possession of small 
amounts of grass for personal use would be introduced soon.

"I'm sure this is one that the (U.S.) drug czar Mr. (John) Walters is 
concerned about because that's his job," Cellucci said. "His job is to try 
to make sure we don't have people using illegal drugs and getting addicted 
to drugs."

Walters has said that in the U.S. more kids need treatment for marijuana 
dependence than all other illegal drugs combined.

In an interview last year he said: "Sixty per cent of the six million 
(Americans) we estimate need treatment for drug addiction or abuse are 

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon has said he intends to introduce 
legislation before Parliament's summer recess, to ease pot laws that have 
given thousands of Canadians criminal records for possessing small amounts 
for personal use.

Alliance and Tory MPs started raising concerns this week, saying the move 
could irritate already strained relations with the U.S. and cause more 
border congestion because of increased U.S. inspections.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager