HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Bill Could Mean Trade Slowdown - Congressman
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Nov 2004
Source: CTV (Canada Web)
Copyright: 2004 CTV Inc.
Note: Video of interview can be found at:


An influential U.S. Congressman is predicting a trade slowdown if
Canada decriminalizes marijuana possession.

"I believe there'll be more searches at the border both coming and
going from Canada, which hurts our trade," said Republican Mark
Souder, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on CTV's Question Period.

"Trade is the anchor of our relationship and our friendship and
anything that shows that down, complicates that."

Souder is chair of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on
Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources. According to his
website, "The Subcommittee is responsible for authorizing legislation
for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and its programs as
well as general oversight for all U.S. government drug control
efforts, including international and interdiction programs, law
enforcement, and prevention and treatment initiatives.

The subcommittee has also looked at the issue of border security and
law enforcement.

Canada's trade with the U.S. has been valued at one million dollars
per minute, 24 hours per day.

The federal government indicated this week it intended to reintroduce
legislation to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana for
amounts of 15 grams or less.

The U.S. has a "zero tolerance" policy on illicit drugs. It has
expressed unhappiness with Canada's plan to not burden people with a
criminal record if caught with small quantities of marijuana.

In Tuesday's U.S. elections, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana
in Alaska failed. Montanans voted to legalize medical marijuana use,
making it the ninth U.S. state to do so. Oregon residents voted
against expanding its medical marijuana program.

Same-sex marriage

Souder, a self-professed evangelical Christian from Indiana, also had
some criticisms for Canada's plan to allow same-sex marriage.

In Tuesday's U.S. elections, 11 states voted against allowing same-sex
marriages. Six others also have such bans in place. U.S. President
George W. Bush has called for a constitutional amendment banning such

By comparison, a Saskatchewan judge has allowed same-sex marriages in
that province this week, which are already legal in four provinces
after court rulings. The federal government has submitted same-sex
marriage legislation to the Supreme Court to see if it passes
constitutional muster.

With Bush winning re-election with a majority and the Republicans
having majorities in both houses of Congress, most observers believe
the U.S. is now a centre-right nation.

States that support Bush's Republican Party are known as Red states,
and there's a massive swath of them between the Rocky Mountains and
Midwest, going southward down through to Florida.

"So much red to me indicates to little tolerance," one U.S. citizen

With a report from CTV's Paula Newton
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