LIBERALS STILL PLAN TO DECRIMINALIZE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA
HALIFAX - The Liberals are committed to carrying out their plan to
decriminalize simple possession for small amounts of marijuana if
re-elected, Prime Minister Paul Martin said Friday in the playground
of a day-care centre.
Martin was responding to a question about whether a Liberal government
would reintroduce a law to hand out fines -- not criminal sentences --
to people caught with 15 or less grams of pot. The legislation died
last month when Parliament was dissolved for the federal election campaign.
Martin's position was partially shared by Conservative Leader Stephen
Harper, campaigning in southern Ontario.
"Marijuana should remain illegal," Harper said. "I think we can look
at fines rather than jail terms for possession under five grams."
During a news conference outside the day care where he spent part of
the morning reading to toddlers, Martin said he would bring back the
legislation that died on the order paper.
And he replied with a joke when asked another if he had ever used
"Did I smoke it? No. Therefore I didn't inhale. But there is a rumour
going around that I've eaten brownies."
The prime minister has previously told the story of how in the 1960s
his wife, Sheila, once baked them a batch of strange tasting brownies.
Harper also had a pot joke.
"What I said was that I was offered a joint once and I was too drunk,"
he said when asked if he had ever smoked. "But the serious answer is
that I'm an asthmatic, so I've never smoked anything."