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OTTAWA -- The Conservative government's plan to slap drug dealers and marijuana grow operators with stiff sentences is a U.S.-style "war on drugs" that won't solve Canada's problems, critics warn. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day yesterday tabled legislation that imposes mandatory jail terms for those convicted of large-scale grow-ops or selling kids hard drugs like cocaine. There are also tough sentences when the drug peddling is linked to violence or organized crime.

"Those people who are in the business of exploiting other people through organized crime and a host of other aggravating circumstances, we want to get serious with those individuals," Nicholson said.

The legislation allows the Drug Treatment Court to suspend the mandatory sentence if an addict offender takes part in a treatment program.

But Liberal justice critic Marlene Jennings said extensive research in the U.S. shows mandatory minimums with "escalators" on repeat offences don't work as a deterrent. Many states have begun to repeal the rigid sentencing regime, she said.

Jennings said the legislation removes the ability of judges and prosecutors to exercise discretion and to factor in the gravity of the crime.

NDP MP Libby Davies also denounced the bill.

"The overall direction of this bill is clearly moving to where the U.S. has been with its drug policy, the so-called 'war on drugs,' that has been a massive failure," she said. "U.S. prisons are filled with people ... incarcerated ... from drug crimes."

Proposed amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act include: One-year mandatory sentence for dealing drugs such as marijuana when carried out for organized crime or when a weapon or violence is involved; two-year mandatory sentence for dealing drugs to youth; two-year mandatory sentence for large grow-ops; tougher penalties for date-rape drugs.

Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Contact: editor@tor.sunpub.com
Website: TorontoSun.com
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New Member
Reading a lot, Canada seems to place every worthwhile grow-op under "organized crime" and always differentiate between "mom & pop" growers as they are sympathetic towards them.. The way I see it, the Mom & Pop grow ops are lived-in residences so they are well kept, mold free, and with proper elecric wiring, so rarely found by police. Do you expect these growers to give oust themselves for the police so as not to receive an insane 14 year sentence later on like their mafioso counterpart?
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