CBC News Online,
May 26, 2003 |
"Persons using this narcotic smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility."
Famous Five Monument
Emily Murphy, the first woman to become a member of Parliament and one of the "Famous Five" who helped Canadian women become "persons" under the law, was also an early anti-marijuana activist. In her 1922 book The Black Candle, Murphy called marijuana the "new menace."
"There's no such thing as the safe use of illicit drugs, including marijuana. When illicit drugs are legalized, drug use increases."
Sgt. Dale Orban, director of the Regina Police Association, May 28, 2001
In May 2003, federal Health Minister Anne McLellan said that if Canada decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, use of the drug would likely increase, at least in the short term, as it has in other countries that have decriminalized.
"Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."
Pierre Claude Nolin
Senator Pierre Claude Nolin
On Sept. 4, 2002, the special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs released its final report, which recommended that the government make smoking pot legal and wipe clean the records of anyone convicted of possession.
"There is a possibility for marijuana to be used as a stepping stone for other harder drugs."
Mike Niebudek, vice-president of the Canadian Police Association, July 2002
Niebudek said this two months after the special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs said the opposite marijuana is "not a gateway" to harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroine.
"Our policies that we build around this drug are far more harmful than the drug itself."
Eugene Oscapella, executive director of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Sept. 4, 2002
By keeping marijuana illegal, says Oscapella, Canada's drug laws support organized crime and terrorist groups around the world.
"One of the main problems with prohibition right now is that organized crime has a foothold in the industry, and until we legalize the growth and sale of marijuana we're not going to see those problems end."
Mike Cust, member of the BC Marijuana Party, July 2002
"I have made it very plain that until we are able to effectively deal with illegal 'grow ops' in this country, we have a major, major problem."
Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan, May 2003
"We would have to respond. We would be forced to respond."
Top U.S. drug policy official David Murray, May 2, 2003
Murray says there would be consequences from the United States if Canada decriminalized the possession of marijuana.
"You expect your friends to stop the movement of poison to your neighbourhood."
U.S. drug czar John Walter, May 2003
Walter has said that Canada's move to decriminalize marijuana could cause traffic at the border to slow to a crawl because border inspections would increase.
"We're not legalizing it, we're decriminalizing."
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, April 29, 2003
Ottawa's plan is to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, though possession would remain illegal. The difference is that those caught would no longer get a criminal record or face jail time; they would still face fines, similar to parking tickets.
"As justice minister, I will do what I think is good for the Canadian population."
Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, May 2003
"I think it's also satisfying to know that this particular law has been declared invalid, particularly given how burdensome it is in terms of criminalizing the behaviour that hundreds of thousands of Canadians engage in."
Lawyer Brian McAllister, January 2003
McAllister said this after a judge in Ontario dismissed two drug charges against his 16-year-old client. The judge said the federal government had failed to address problems with the country's marijuana laws.
"We're not prepared for it, and, being a family man
I've never condoned it in my household and I couldn't see doing that in the future."
Liberal MP Gary Pillitteri, May 2003
"I'm 39 years old
and, yes, of course I tried it before, I mean obviously."
Federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, July 2002
Prime Minister Chrétien, however, says he has never smoked a joint.