Steaming Madd At Marijuana Bill Proposal

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Airdrie Echo - Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are aiming their
sights on the marijuana bill which is before the House of Commons.

Teaming up with the Canadian Professional Police Association (CPPA)
and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), MADD
representatives are calling on the federal government to hold off on
passing Bill C-38 until police departments can be equipped to handle
the repercussions of more lenient pot legislation.

"The government is trying to push it through without doing the
research that is needed," said Maggie Bazini, president for the MADD
Calgary and area chapter. "They haven't adjusted the laws and provided
the tools for the police to do what they need to do."

Under Bill C-38, those found in possession of 15 grams or less of
marijuana would not be charged under the criminal code as recommended
by the Senate in March. According to the Senate's report,
decriminalizing marijuana for personal use would "reduce the injurious
effects of the criminalization of the use and possession of cannabis
and its derivatives."

The bill allows for individuals to grow cannabis for personal use and
requires them to obtain a licence for distribution.

"Why is there such a rush to move forward with the decriminalization
of marijuana before a true national drug strategy is fully operational
and providing police with the tools they need to do their jobs?" said
Deputy-Chief Mike Boyd, chairman of CACP Police Drug Abuse Committee.
"There is nothing in this law that will deter or reduce marijuana use
in Canada . while we are not opposed to the use of alternative
measures, such as a ticket, to deal with possession of very small
amounts of marijuana, we strongly believe that such measures should
instil meaningful, appropriate and graduated consequences."

Andrew Murie, national executive director of MADD Canada, said the
bill is not in the public's best interest.

"We are urging the government to give the police the authority they
need to detect and charge drug impaired drivers prior to loosening the
drug possession laws," Murie said. "It is a recipe for trouble on our
roads and MPs need to delay this bill until the proper public
safeguards are in place."

MADD has requested the federal government investigate the issue
further, Bazini said, before passing the legislation.

"Instead of being proactive, I guess they figure its better to be
reactive," Bazini said.

MADD is already working to get the message of the dangers of impaired
driving out to the public this holiday season with the launch of its
annual red ribbon campaign. The ribbons - symbols of the need to think
before getting behind the wheel - are available in Airdrie at Super
Drug Mart, Hi Ho Grocery, Blockbuster Video, Airdrie Liquor Store, Zig
Zag, Shefields and the Airdrie Bottle Depot.


Pubdate: Wed, 03 Dec 2003
Source: Airdrie Echo (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003 Airdrie Echo
Contact: airdrie_echo@awna.com
Website: Airdrie Echo