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2014-03-05 at 13:59

Tickets for pot?

ustice Minister Peter MacKay stands in the House of Commons during Question Period on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Fred Chartrand, The Canadian Press
ustice Minister Peter MacKay stands in the House of Commons during Question Period on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Tuesday, March 4, 2014
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By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is seriously considering looser marijuana laws that would allow police to ticket anyone caught with small amounts of pot instead of laying charges, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday.

"We're not talking about decriminalization or legalization," MacKay said prior to the weekly Conservative caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.

"The Criminal Code would still be available to police, but we would look at options that would ... allow police to ticket those types of offences."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is open to such an approach, he added.

The justice minister has hinted in the past that such a move was under consideration. The country's police chiefs —as well as some Tory caucus members, MacKay says — have long called for ticketing people for pot possession instead of laying criminal charges.

But MacKay has also been among the Conservatives' fiercest critics of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's stance on the issue. Trudeau supports the legalization of marijuana, a position the Tories have mocked with gleeful abandon.

MacKay accused the Liberal leader of promoting drug use to elementary schoolchildren last fall after Trudeau answered a question about his marijuana policies from First Nations high school students in Sioux Valley, Man. There were elementary school kids in the audience at the time.

"Justin Trudeau's comments to elementary school children regarding the legalization of marijuana is not only bad policy, but is completely unacceptable and grossly inappropriate," MacKay said in a statement at the time.

"He's directly delivering a message to children now that recreational drug use is OK."

Trudeau responded by saying that marijuana was dangerous for young people, because their minds are still developing, but added he believes regulating pot will make it safer for children.

The Liberal leader called on MacKay to retract the comments, calling them "shameful."

Under the Criminal Code as it now stands, anyone convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can be jailed for up to five years. First-time offenders can face fines of up to $1,000 or as much as six months in jail.

The Justice Department is looking into the issue and may present a draft bill that would reflect the change in policy, MacKay said. He made the announcement following a weekend meeting with Vancouver's police chief, who supports the approach.

 

 

 

The Canadian Press
© The Canadian Press, 2014

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Comments

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The Cougar says:
Legalizing and regulating marijuana would only benefit this country. The drug is essentially on the same level as alcohol in terms of the degree it impairs the user, and would likely be a pretty tidy source of revenue for the government if it was sold like liquor is at the LCBO. Making it legal would prevent people from having to deal it illegally, and would probably reduce the amount of crime by a small amount. Puff puff pass this motion Parliament Hill!
3/5/2014 2:42:00 PM
REG says:
It's amazing how the conservatives are flip flopping on this. What's with this government always saying it's illegal then saying saying we might ease up on the charges.
3/5/2014 2:51:00 PM
rothmich says:
It's not really amazing - the only thing the Liberals have this time around is a pro-pot Justin Trudeau.

Politics is all about pandering. Flip-flop away! Nothing gets done, everything gets worse, and at the end of the day it just doesn't matter!
3/6/2014 8:04:02 AM
Undrgrnd says:
Jeez Canada get with the program! We all know it's gonna be legal all over North America in ten years max anyways. Show some initiative and be the first to legalize country-wide!

To those not with the times on this, I offer this question: how many murders in TB are pot-related? None. And how many are alcohol related? Nay, scratch related; how many are directly derivative of alcohol intoxication? Would say 75% be too high? I think not. Case closed.
3/5/2014 4:21:49 PM
S Duncan says:
Dopers better be careful what they wish for.

Once the government gets its greedy paws in there the prices will skyrocket. It will be taxed at levels probably higher than cigarettes and booze (at least after a couple of years)

the underground will keep supplying it, but now they will have broken another big law. Tax evasion!

So, be careful what you wish for. When government is coming on board with you, you best be mindful of what they bring with them.

Any doper with a brain (is that an oxymoron?) should be able to see that their best move is to shut up and stop their chanting for legalizing it.

but I guess that doper with a brain is rarer than a Sasquatch.
3/5/2014 5:06:04 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Prices will sky rocket because the government will let Police issue tickets instead of handing out charges?

Pardon my confusion but can you explain how that will drive up prices?

Maybe if they regulated and decriminalized marijuana, I could see prices jumping as you say but just because police can issue a ticket rather than a charge I don't see that jump happening.

And this tax evasion that you speak of... this happens all over, not just with pot sales.

Legalization I don't think will be a good thing, but decriminalization could work. All of this money spent to put away people who would rather sit in their basement and smoke up rather than all those who chose to drink and drive after they imbibe alcohol.

Pretty sure they will also have (and they do currently have) tests to check for marijuana intoxication.
3/6/2014 10:30:54 AM
mystified says:
A ticket is a lot cheaper than those Super Prisons the Cons were yakking about a while back. Throwing someone in jail for enjoying a little herb is ridiculous.
3/5/2014 5:19:49 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Let me get this correct, you say they are going to issue $100 fines to enjoyers of herb, yet saddle the florists with confiscation of homes and mandatory major jail time...cmon man...wtf is with that...oh...by the by...any luck finding that ADSCAM money yet, eh Pete...
3/5/2014 5:26:50 PM
TBDR says:
the conservatives are so out to lunch on the pot issue...
3/5/2014 5:34:15 PM
musicferret says:
Looks like the CONS realized Trudeau was right and are now flip flopping.

So obviously, this begs the question: if pot is not as evil as all that, then why on earth is it illegal at all!?! TAX and sell it in stores.

Billions taken out of the hands of organized crime, billions saved in court and jail cost, and billions in tax revenue. Win win win.
3/5/2014 6:52:44 PM
Shane Caker says:
Tickets for pot?? I'll buy one!
3/5/2014 9:33:01 PM
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