1. Alfa

    OTTAWA (CP) -- The federal government is committed to marijuana
    decriminalization and will reintroduce legislation to make it happen,
    Prime Minister Paul Martin said in his first statement on the issue
    since winning re-election.

    The Liberal government will bring back a bill that died with the
    election call and re-table it after Parliament resumes sitting in
    October, he said Wednesday following a meeting of his new cabinet.

    "The legislation on marijuana -- the decriminalization of minor
    quantities of marijuana -- that legislation will be

    According to the original bill, anyone caught with 15 grams of pot or
    less would receive a ticket instead of criminal charges. But those
    caught trafficking more than 15 grams would receive harsher penalties.

    Critics say the bill could lead to more cases of intoxicated driving
    and cause traffic snarls at the Canada-U.S. border while American
    customs agents intensify their search for drugs.

    They also bemoan the 15-gram ceiling for non-criminal use, calculating
    that it would become legal for someone to carry more than 30 joints at
    a time.

    Detractors have already successfully lobbied the government to drive
    down the initial maximum amount from 30 grams. Some felt the original

    limit was so high that it practically made drug-dealing legal.


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