WINDSOR - Federal plans to relax Canada's marijuana laws could prove disastrous
for automotive parts manufacturers by creating a new mood of Prohibition at the
border, their national association warned yesterday.

Decriminalization on one side of the border only will ensure Canadian shipments
must be put under even more scrutiny by U.S. Customs officials, says Gerry
Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.

"It will be like the Prohibition all over again," Mr. Fedchun told a press
conference in Windsor, one of two the APMA held yesterday to present a
pre-Christmas industry wish list to federal and provincial governments.

"If they don't have it on the other side there is going to be a tremendous
amount of inspection by the other side. Can you imagine what the lineups are
going to be like? At this point, marijuana possesion should not be
decriminalized."

Mr. Fedchun said the potential for further business disruptions due to secuity
concerns was raised by the APMA's Windsor board members, "who experience
firsthand the problems crossing the border on a daily basis."

In a nutshell, the Windsor parts manufacturers have been warned by customs
experts that looser Canadian marijuana laws will necessitate more
inspections of
their goods. The manufacturers say inspections equal delay, and that more delay
will mean more lost sales and lost jobs.

The APMA's members have already suffered a $2-billion loss in business volume
between 2000 and 2002, said Douglas Boughner, chairman of the group's
board. Any
further erosion of their combined $34-billion in annual sales will lead to loss
of taxes and weakened government revenues, he wanred.

The APMA calculates automotive workers pay more than $2-billion a year in
income
taxes.


Source: National Post (Canada)
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Copyright: 2003 Southam Inc.
Author: Chris Vander Doelen
Pubdate: December 11, 2003