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Chrétien says he’ll toke up after he decriminalizes pot

By Hempology | October 2, 2003

From the Times Colonist, October 2nd, 2003

By Darcy Keith (CanWest News Service)

WINNIPEG – Prime Minister Jean Chrétien says he wants to depart at a
high point in his career, and, he jokes, may quite literally do that,
with a smile on his face and a joint in his hand.

Chrétien said this week he’s never tried marijuana but isn’t ruling
out lighting up a joint once it’s no longer a criminal offence.

“I don’t know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no
longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other
hand,” the prime minister joked in an interview with a Winnipeg newspaper,
published Friday.

He also said in the interview he hopes the day he departs will be a “high
point” in his career, as was the day he won the title of prime minister.

Speaking to reporters here Friday on his last scheduled visit to the
Manitoba capital as prime minister, Chrétien was questioned on
his apparent willingness to join the Cheech and Chong generation.

“I said I might be able some day to do it, but no I never tried it,” he said.

Chrétien sasys Canadians do not want their kids who smoke marijuana once
to get stuck with a criminal record for the rest of their life.

“A lot of kids use it, apparently, and it would be illegal. I think they
should not have a criminal record for one offence,” he told reporters.

When asked if he was condoning its use, he said: “No, not at all. The law
is the law, we’re changing the law.”

The Liberal government hopes to pass legislation before Christmas that proposes
to decriminalize possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana – which police
estimate to be the equivalent of 15 marijuana cigarettes.

People would be fined up to $400 instead of facing a criminal charge.

The government’s premise is that police should not be pursuing small-time
offenders, nor should people caught with marijuana for their own use be
saddled with criminal records.

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