Posted by Jeff from d53-106-196.try.wideopenwest.com (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 1:03AM :
Monday's Canada Briefs
Mon Dec 9,11:32 PM ET
By The Associated Press
Ottawa Government May Introduce Pot Bill Early 2003
OTTAWA (AP) — The federal government may introduce legislation early in the new year to decriminalize the use of marijuana, says Justice Minister Martin Cauchon.
"If we're talking about that question of decriminalizing marijuana, we may move ahead quickly as a government," he said Monday outside the House of Commons.
"I don't like to give you a date or a time frame, but let's say the beginning of next year, the four first months of next year."
Cauchon said the long-awaited bill would depend partly on the views of a special Commons committee which studied the use of non-medical drugs.
The committee released the first of two reports Monday, recommending that heroin addicts in major cities should have safe-injection sites and needle-exchange programs. It also said two prisons should be converted into treatment centers for inmates.
A second report is due Thursday. That report is expected to recommend that growing pot for personal use should not be a crime.
Sources familiar with the work of the committee said the move to decriminalize marijuana would still make the possession of pot illegal, but the punishment would be a fine rather than a criminal record.
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