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NDP Leader Boosts Legalization of 'Wonderful' Pot

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Ottawa -- Marijuana is a "wonderful substance" that should be legalized,
not just
decriminalized, says NDP Leader Jack Layton. Canadians must be able to
freely purchase
or grow their own pot, Layton said in a recent interview with Pot TV, a
Internet site.

He accused the Liberal government of "not going nearly far enough" with its
plan to ensure simple possession doesn't result in a criminal record. In a
segment on the site, Layton appeals directly to pot smokers, encouraging
them to join
the NDP and help create "a legal environment in which people can enjoy
their marijuana
in the peace and quiet of their own home or in a cafe."

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, the man steering the government's
legislation, told
Global National it would be "irresponsible" to do as Layton suggests and
remove all
penalties for marijuana.

"He should consult with Health Canada and he would understand cannabis is a
product and people shouldn't be using cannabis."

"Maybe he's trying to take over the Marijuana party," joked Canadian
Alliance MP John
Reynolds, who also accused Layton of making "irresponsible" comments.

I think everyone knows Jack Layton well enough to know he often blows smoke
to make a
point," said New Democrat MP Alexa McDonough, the former party leader.

In Saskatoon on Friday for an NDP rally, Layton acknowledged that his use
of the word
wonderful to describe marijuana was "sensational."

But, he insisted his comments would not alienate the party's grassroots.

"The current law being proposed is going to make it a criminal offence to
pass a joint
from one person to another," he said, adding that without providing for a
legal supply
of marijuana, the government could actually be boosting organized crime.

"That's not decriminalization by anyone's definition."

Marc Emery, the marijuana advocate and seed salesman who runs Pot TV,
certainly seemed
convinced, telling Layton, "We're looking for someone -- I don't want to
use the word
"saviour" -- but we're looking for someone like yourself."

Kevin Frayer, Canadian Press Files

November 08, 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Troy Reeb, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, November 08, 2003
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun