A B.C. provincial court judge's ruling that the law governing marijuana
possession is invalid will be appealed, a spokeswoman for the federal justice
department said Thursday.

A notice to appeal has been filed, said Lyse Cantin, spokeswoman for the
department's B.C. region.

Police and the B.C. solicitor-general were quick to insist earlier this
week the
ruling does not make marijuana possession legal and is not binding on other
judges.

Ironically, the appeal was celebrated by the B.C. Marijuana Party.

"That's a good thing for everyone, I would think," said spokesman Marc Emery,
who was planning a pot-smoking protest outside Vancouver police headquarters
Thursday.

"It'll be appealed to B.C. Supreme Court and they'll rule in the favour of the
judge," he predicted, calling the Sept. 4 ruling "iron clad."

In the ruling, Judge Patrick Chen wrote that, in his view, "Section 4 of the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as it applies to marijuana, ceased to be
valid legislation after July 31, 2001.' "

The date refers to the expiry of a one-year grace period set by an Ontario
Court
of Appeal ruling from 2000 that Chen referred to in his judgment.

The judge wrote that the Ontario decision "severed the marijuana possession
prohibition from other parts of Section 4 of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances
Act and declared it to be invalid, but suspended the declaration of invalidity
for a period of one year 'to provide Parliament with the opportunity to
fill the
void.' "

A spokeswoman for Vancouver's police department said earlier this week she
hadn't heard of any fallout so far from the ruling.

New legislation was proposed earlier this year to decriminalize marijuana
possession.


Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Pubdate: September 19, 2003
Contact sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/
Address: 200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Emily Yearwood-Lee, CP