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Local Pot Supporter Unfazed By Ruling Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Laws

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A Supreme Court of Canada decision upholding a federal law prohibiting
possession of small amounts of marijuana doesn't faze Victor (Randy) Caine,
the former South Surrey resident whose arrest 10 years ago in White Rock
went all the way to the highest court in the land.

"I'm not surprised by it, or disturbed by it," Caine said of the 6-3 ruling
Dec. 23 that the federal law does not violate the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. Canada's top judges ruled it's up to Parliament to change that law.

Caine takes comfort from the fact three judges agreed the ban violates
Canadian rights.

"Thirty-three per cent of the justices...found our arguments clear and
valid. We've come a long way," Caine said.

Caine launched a constitutional challenge after he was arrested in White
Rock June 13, 1993, when RCMP detected a smell of marijuana in his parked
van. When he was questioned, Caine produced the roach from a joint he and a
friend had shared. It weighed 0.5 grams.

Caine's lawyer, John Conroy, argued Caine's arrest and the unrelated
arrests of two other advocates-David Malmo-Levine and Christopher Clay-were
unconstitutional because they break the Charter's promise of basic justice.

All three cases were heard together.

Conroy said while he had been optimistic, he was not shocked by the outcome.

"They're saying it's a matter for Parliament. The court has clearly said,
6-3, it's up to our politicians."

Canadian Conservative MP Val Meredith (South Surrey-White Rock-Langley)
agreed, noting a constituent survey found many favour decriminalizing
possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Still, Meredith said debate of the issue is needed before any changes are made.

"If the legislation is written properly, (if) it doesn't decriminalize it
for larger amounts, for trafficking...it's something to look at," she said.

"I don't think a 16-year-old should have a criminal record if they're
caught with a joint."

Caine predicts the right to consume pot will be less of an issue as part of
the inevitable move toward greater personal freedom in Canada.

"Politicians will flounder around with this. They have forever. They're
welcome to that," Caine said.

"I'm not waiting for any government or any judge to tell me that I'm free.
If I'm waiting for that, I will remain a slave to them forever."

Pubdate: Fri, 26 Dec 2003
Source: Peace Arch News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Peace Arch News
Contact: editorial@peacearchnews.com
Website: Home - Peace Arch News