HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cellucci Blowing Smoke On Marijuana
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Nov 2004
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


On most issues affecting the U.S. and Canada, Paul Cellucci is a model
of common sense. Despite our differences over things like same-sex
marriage and lumber, he says, what sets us apart is only that "Canada
is a little more liberal than the United States; the United States is
a little more conservative."

But turn to the subject of marijuana, and the outgoing U.S. ambassador
loses his logical composure. He also comes perilously close to
interfering in the way we conduct our domestic affairs.

"Why, when we're trying to take pressure off the border, would Canada
pass a law that would put pressure on the border?" Cellucci asked last

Translation: If we persist in making possession of a minuscule amount of
pot no longer a crime, Canadian tourists and exporters are going to face
even longer delays at the border.

The ambassador predicts U.S. border authorities will be stopping more
vehicles, especially if they're being driven by young people -- young
people, apparently, are automatically suspected of

His excellency points out that U.S. customs, immigration and security
officials already have their hands full at border crossings trying to
keep prospective terrorists out.

In that case, why would they divert all this extra attention suddenly
to the already thriving cross-border trade in marijuana?

Just because Parliament has decided treating kids like criminals for
passing around a joint at a party doesn't really do much to stop drug
trafficking either here or in the U.S.

There's an element of kettle as well as pot to all of this. About a
dozen U.S. states, including California and New York, have removed
criminal sanctions from marijuana possession and there's little
evidence of border slowdowns between those that have and those that

Under our proposed law, criminal sanctions would still apply for
anyone caught with more than 15 grams of pot. In most U.S. states that
have adopted some measure of decriminalization, people are still be
able to get off with fines for having up to 28.35 grams.

Besides New York and Ohio, other states bordering Canada that have
eased pot laws more than we're about to do include Minnesota, Maine
and Alaska where the lowest penalties are imposed for possession of up
to 226 grams. It's a wonder we haven't put delays on Americans at our
borders to keep the potheads out -- but, of course, we don't have the

In the land of the free, U.S. presidents can't bully the states into
their own conservative agendas.

That's what makes the attempts of a U.S. ambassador to bully a
bordering nation out of its more liberal policies so much more outrageous.

Kindly butt out, Mr. Ambassador.
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MAP posted-by: Derek