Thursday, July 22, 2004

Canadian PM pledges to decriminalise marijuana

Prime Minister Paul Martin has pledged to reintroduce legislation this year to decriminalise the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana.

There had been rumours that, under pressure from the United States, the new Martin Government would let the legislation fall.

Parliament failed to get the legislation through before it was dissolved prior to the June 28 election which saw Martin's Government re-elected, but without a majority in Parliament.

Meeting with reporters after the first formal meeting of his new cabinet, Mr Martin said "the legislation will be reintroduced this fall".

His statement came as a government agency, Statistics Canada, revealed that the proportion of Canadians aged 15 or older who say they had used marijuana has nearly doubled in 13 years.

The report says that an estimated three million Canadians reported using cannabis at least once in the year before the survey was conducted in 2002.

That represents 12.2 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older - compared to just 6.5 percent in a similar survey in 1989.

The latest study shows that more than 10 million Canadians, or 41.3 per cent of the population aged 15 or older, reported trying marijuana at least once in their lifetime.

By Decriminalise Herbs 22 July 04


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