TRUDEAU PUSHED FOR POT
OTTAWA -- Former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau thought
Canada's penalties for potheads were "rather harsh," according to
30-year-old cabinet documents. As the current Liberal government moves
to decriminalize marijuana, historic records from 1973 just released
by the National Archives suggest the former PM was pushing his cabinet
to relax the laws while facing stiff opposition from within his own
"The prime minister commented that the penalties recommended for first
offenders for illicit possession seemed rather harsh," one document
"(Health Minister) Marc Lalonde reported that he had found caucus
members to be rather rigid in their views and to have considered his
proposals somewhat lenient."
The divisive nature of the raging pot debate remains three decades
later, as Prime Minister Paul Martin prepares to re-introduce a
decriminalization bill that would fine those caught with a small stash
of less than 15 grams.
Records of the closed-door pot discussions are among scores of secret
documents that offer a glimpse into how Trudeau's minority government
stickhandled sensitive issues of the day.