Current Law “Not Very Efficient,” Admits Justice Minister
Ottowa, Ontario: Justice Minister Martin Cauchon renewed nationwide calls to abolish criminal penalties for marijuana possession this week by announcing that he has previously smoked pot and supports decriminalizing the drug.
“If you look at the system we have in place, keeping [marijuana] criminal is something that is not very efficient,” Cauchon said. Canadian police currently spend too much time and resources prosecuting marijuana offenders, the country’s top cop added.
More than one-third of all Canadian drug offenses are for marijuana possession only.
Cauchon recommended that Canada’s law be amended so that minor pot offenders no longer receive jail or criminal records. The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Council of Churches support such a policy change. More than three out of four Canadians also back decriminalization, according to national polls.
Last May, the Canadian Senate’s Special Committee on Illegal Drugs published a preliminary report concluding that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug that has little impact on public safety. The report also said that laws criminally prohibiting pot appear to have minimal impact on marijuana use. Special committees in both the Senate and the House are scheduled to release full reports on Canada’s pot policies later this year.