source: cbc.ca website
Wed Nov 7, 2001
Members of Parliament Wednesday began debating the merits of a bill that
proposes to decriminalize marijuana. The bill calls for fines instead of
criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin says he expects support for his
private members bill from most federal MPs.
The federal government said in October that it will allow an open vote
on the matter, but such a vote is not expected for some time.
Martin said some two-thirds of of MPs have indicated support for the
bill, called Bill C-344. Much of this support has come after Ottawa
approved the use of medical marijuana earlier this year.
Martin has argued that decriminalizing marijuana possession would free
up police resources to fight other crimes, a move he says could save
about $150 million in court costs.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal has asked that Ottawa
decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal
use. The RCMP and Canada's police chiefs have also come out in favour of
"It's not a new idea in Canada," Martin said. "A federal commission
first recommended decriminalization almost 30 years ago."
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