Contradictory Pot Laws in Need of Immediate Reform

OTTAWA - Libby Davies, NDP MP from Vancouver East, called today on Prime Minister Paul Martin to move quickly to re-introduce marijuana reforms when Parliament returns in October.

"In light of Marc Emery's arrest last month for "passing a joint" and the recent arrests on Commercial Drive, Parliament needs to have a realistic discussion about the laws governing adult marijuana use," said Davies.

"We are seeing huge legal problems with the lack of rational and just laws governing marijuana," said Jack Layton, Leader of the Federal NDP.

Marc Emery, President of the BC Marijuana Party, is currently serving a sentence for trafficking after sharing two marijuana cigarettes with others after an anti-prohibition talk in Saskatchewan.

"Many are likely not aware but "sharing a joint" is considered trafficking under our current federal laws," said Davies. "I had an amendment when Parliament considered changes to the marijuana laws last fall which would have struck this from the books, but the Liberal dominated committee voted it down."

Yesterday on Commercial Drive in Vancouver police raided a store that was openly selling marijuana and arrested six.

"These sorts of situations are going to continue if Paul Martin and the federal government refuse to face the issue, and as result lives are ruined because of criminal convictions. And communities and local business will be unfairly affected by police raids," said the Vancouver East MP.

The Federal NDP will continue to push for changes to the marijuana laws when Parliament resumes this fall. These will include: amnesty for past possession convictions, reduction or elimination of fines for personal possession, and non-punitive measures for personal cultivation.

This Press Release was posted on September 13, 2004
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