Decriminalization Of Cannabis Undermines The Safety And Security Of Canadians
Canada, May 2, 2003 - As the new date for the Supreme Court constitutional challenge approaches, the federal government has attempted once again to sabotage this important appointment. In December the case was delayed due to government promises to change the laws within the first few months of the year. The court gave them the benefit of the doubt, after 30 years of unfulfilled promises.
Despite the Prime Minister's latest announcement, the court case will be going ahead. The challenges of Clay, Caine, and Malmo-Levine will proceed because decriminalization does not address the wide abuse of Charter rights inherent even in partial-prohibition. Nor does it address the central argument of the cases which contends there should be "no punishment" - not merely "no criminal record".
The Canadian Cannabis Coalition (CCC) opposes the proposed decriminalization scheme. Such a national drug strategy is clearly nothing more than a moral crusade. Ultimately it would lead to an increase in all the unintended consequences of prohibition, as has occurred places such as Australia. There, a similar form of decriminalization has resulted in more people being punished, and often more harshly than before the so-called "easing of the laws" through being jailed for unpaid fines. A ticketing scheme would punish Canadians with lower incomes more than those with higher incomes. It would also punish Canadians using cannabis for medical purposes whose needs are not being met by Health Canada's failing program.
The CCC is calling for a change in the law to protect Canadians from unscrupulous practices, people and organizations. The proposed decriminalization does not address the legitimate concerns surrounding harms stemming from the black market, ignorance and abuse. These can be addressed through the legalization of cannabis along with the normal controls of rational regulations that punish people only if they behave in a harmful manner.
There is no justification for the continuance of the prohibition of cannabis, nor for the punishment of its users, growers and distributors. We are looking to our highest court to provide guidance to our politicians on the constitutional rights of Canadians who choose to use, grow and distribute a relatively harmless substance.
The CCC (Canadian Cannabis Coalition ) is an umbrella for 70+ cannabis-related organizations and individuals across Canada with affiliates in the United States and Austrialia. We are dedicated to facilitating access to a safe supply of cannabis through research, education and advocacy.
Philippe Lucas 250.884.9821 (Victoria)
Rielle Capler 604. 875-0448 (Vancouver)
Tim Meehan: 416-854-6343 (Toronto)
Neev: 416-367-3459 (Toronto)
(DISCLAIMER: No one speaks FOR the CCC under the organizational framework. Members listed here will speak ABOUT the press release and/or current situation. )
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Further references: http://cannabislink.ca/legal/sccagenda.htm