Biggest threat to pot-lovers' freedoms since prohibition
After repeated pressure from the US White House, Canada's House of Commons asked the Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs to make recommendations that would toughen Canada's proposed "decriminalization" law, Bill C-38, adding mandatory minimum sentences for growers, jail terms for repeat offenders possessing small amounts, and a drop in the maximum amount one can possess on a first offense before facing court and jail, from 15 to 10 grams.
American anti-drug zealots will be invited to the committee hearing. Meanwhile, committee member and Alliance MP Randy White - a well-known US drug war apologist - promises to hold up Bill C-38 entirely unless harsh penalties are added to the bill.
The recent move by Chretien's government to hear from the likes of White comes on the heels of criticisms from US Drug Csar John Walters, who berated Prime Minister Chretien for saying that he might someday try cannabis.
"[The Canadian people] are concerned about the behaviour of their Prime Minister, joking that he is going to use marijuana in his retirement - they're ashamed," blustered Walters, displaying his true ignorance of Canadian public opinion.
The US drug csar's accusations are only the latest in a string of unrelenting US meddlings into sovereign Canadian decisions on pot. Early this year, Justice Minister Martin Cauchon met with US Attorney General John Ashcroft to discuss bill C-38 before it was even read in Canadian parliament. This summer dissident Liberal backbenchers Dan McTeague and Brenda Chamberlain met with US anti-drug authorities to strategize against Chretien's bill. Anti-drug Liberal backbenchers like Paul Steckle and Jim Karygiannis have also rallied behind US Drug Csar Walters, making Chretien more pliable to negotiations concerning the new pot bill.
The so-called decriminalization law, Bill C-38, already doubles the maximum current 7 year jail term for growers to 14 years, without clearly spelling out how it would relieve Canadians facing pot possession convictions of criminal records, say legal experts. The doubling of penalties for growers were originally intended to placate drug war lovers in Canada and abroad.
The newer addition of mandatory minimum sentences would be perhaps one of the most dangerous changes to an already dangerous law, potentially stuffing Canadian jails with thousands of growers and wiping out one of Canada's most profitable industries. The Special Committee on Drugs might recommend any number of further abusive measures.
"There are [almost] no mandatory minimums in any other part of Canada's criminal code," pointed out Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery on a recent edition of POT TV news, "not for child molesters, for robbers? even cocaine dealers won't face mandatory minimums like marijuana people! It is a pogrom aimed with extreme prejudice at us. Overnight, Canada could be turned into the worst regime in the world, possibly exceeding the US even in the amount of people who will go to jail."
If you treasure your freedom, you are encouraged to contact the MP's who will decide the fate of Canada's pot laws in the next week.
"Remind the Members of Parliament that there is no moral basis to the jailing of anyone in the cannabis Canadian community for growing, selling, or possessing," said Emery. "The nation has not benefited in any way from over 2,000,000 Canadians arrested, detained, and charged for cannabis since 1966 - 1,000,000 of which were convicted, and hundreds of thousands of which have seen jail time."
Special Committee on the Non-medical Use of Drugs email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee Members' Emails:
Paddy Torsney (Liberal) (Committee Chair): email@example.com
Carole-Marie Allard (Liberal): firstname.lastname@example.org
Mauril Belanger (liberal): email@example.com
Dominic LeBlanc (Liberal): firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Lee (Liberal): email@example.com
Hedy Fry (Liberal): firstname.lastname@example.org
Gilbert Barrette (Liberal): email@example.com
Randy White (Alliance): firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Sorenson (Alliance): email@example.com
Richard Marceau (Bloc Quebecois): firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Menard (Bloc Quebecois): email@example.com
Inky Mark (PC): firstname.lastname@example.org
Libby Davies (NDP): email@example.com
See also CC Online: Canada's decrim bill turning into crackdown