Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Mary Jane and powerful neighbours

"Prime Minister Jean Chrétien seems prepared to risk the ire of the United States and decriminalise the use of marijuana. John Walters, the Bush administration's drug tsar, has publicly stated that if Canada decriminalises marijuana it could face serious disruptions to border trade, which is crucial to the Canadian economy. Other US politicians have warned of dire consequences if Canada becomes the pot patch of the north. But momentum is clearly building. Last month a Canadian senate committee made headlines, recommending that anyone over the age of 16 be able to smoke marijuana freely. If it is ever implemented, the recommendation would mean joints would be legally available to teenagers long before a pint of beer. The report, which filled four volumes, was extensively researched. It also urged amnesty for the 600,000 Canadians convicted of possessing marijuana. The senate committee argued that the recreational use of pot is no more harmful that smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, both legal vices that provide healthy annual tax revenues. There is no reason marijuana shouldn't be legal and sold at the local store, the committee said."

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