Recent Articles

Recent Comments

« | Main | »

MP says Senate pot idea is up in smoke

By Hempology | September 25, 2002

From the Parksville-Quallicum News, September 17, 2002

By Tom MacDougall

A report by the Canadian Senate recommending
legalization of marijuana is
being flown as a flag of
liberalization by pot
advocates and as a sinking
Liberal party trial balloon
by a local Member of
Last Wednesday, a five
member Senate committee
headed by Conservative
Senator Claude Nolin and
Liberal Senator Colin Kenny
issued a 600-page report
advocating the legalization,
regulation, taxation and
sale of marijuana. The
report also recommends the
drug be available for sale
to anyone over the age of

“I have a hard time looking
at this as a serious
initiative,” said Nanaimo
Alberni MP Dr. James Lunney.

Admitting his perspective on
the report might be somewhat
cynical, Lunney
characterized the report as
an attempt by the federal
Liberals to use the Senate
(“Senators aren’t elected,
they’re appointed by – guess
who?”) to float legalization
as a trial balloon to gauge
public support and political

While he thinks the public
debate around drug use and
abuse in Canada needs to be
had, Lunney doesn’t believe
the Senate report offers
much to that debate.
Further, he doesn’t think
the Senate opinion puts
enough weight on the
implication full
legalization could have on the country’s relationship with the international
community, particularly the United States.
“Canada is already coming under the same international reputation that
Colombia has,” as a gateway for drugs into the rest of the world, Lunney said.

Lunney is waiting on an all-party committee report of non-medicinal drug use,
expected in November. Because it has a broader base, he believes the
parliamentary committee’s findings will hold more relevance for Canadians.
Mark Russell questions how much Canada should want to tailor its legal policy
to that of its southern neighbour.

A long-time cannabis advocate and owner of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada,
Coombs Parksville branch, Russell lauds the Senate decision.
“I was thrilled – positively,” said Russell. “It’s the first sane thing that’s
come out of Ottawa concerning cannabis in a very long time.”

He’s hopeful the federal Liberals will give credence to the report and act on
it. If they do “the paranoia (about arrest) will disappear completely and we
won’t have to worry about performing criminal acts for something that isn’t

The only component that raises Russell’s eyebrows is the recommendation that
pot sales to people as young as 16 be legal.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea for any kid to indulge in drugs until they’re
of an age to handle it. Is 16 too young? I would say yes,” said Russell.

Though they seem on opposite sides of the marijuana debate in many ways,
Lunney and Russell do agree on one thing – comparing the drug to alcohol is
unfair and inaccurate.

“It’s like comparing apples and oranges,” said Lunney. “They’re both fruit but
have entirely different consequences.”

The MP also wants to see more detailed assessment of the long-term
consequences of marijuana use.

Russell just wants government to get on with it and give up on the whole
“reefer madness” approach to marijuana, saying it has been studied repeatedly.
Each time, the report has said the same thing, he said – legalize it.
“There’s nothing new here. It’s all been done before,” said Russell.

Topics: Articles | Comments Off

Comments are closed.