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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  September 4, 2002
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
Phone & Fax 530-750-7912

Canadian Senate Committee Calls For Legalizing Marijuana

The prohibition of marijuana use must end, proclaims a report to be released today by the Canadian Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs.

The unanimous report hopes to bring Canadian policy into the new millennium and out of the politically motivated and costly US-led War on (Some) Drugs. "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue,” explained Senator Pierre Nolin, the committee’s chairperson.

The report courageously refutes the outdated ideological positions propounded in the U.S. by such influential people as the Drug Czar John Walters and the DEA director, Asa Hutchenson: both have pressured the Canadian government to impose stronger anti-drug laws. Not only does the report call for legalization, but it also argues for a modification to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would provide amnesty for Canadians previously convicted of marijuana possession.

Recognizing that the current prohibition laws have failed, the report recommends that the government focus instead on illegal drug trafficking, prevention programs, and respecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Revising the law is necessary said Senator Nolin, because “In many ways, prohibition is a cop-out.”

“In Canada where the majority of the population opposes the criminalization of marijuana use,” said Mark Bryan, Summer Fellow for the U.S.-based Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, “the Senate’s report has the potential to convince the federal government to assert its sovereignty, and stop allowing the Americans to bully them into maintaining policies which clearly are not in the best interest of the Canadian people.” Mr. Bryan, a Canadian citizen, is looking forward to returning home “to a less oppressive country than the one I am currently in.”

The Canadian Senate’s report coincides with debates currently underway in Nevada and Arizona concerning marijuana decriminalization. Nevadans will vote on November 9th on an initiative that will make the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana legal. Many states have already voted in favor of permitting the use of medical marijuana, but have been facing difficulties because of the US federal government’s refusal to recognize the democratic will of American citizens.

“For a country that champions the ideal of freedom, America is far behind both Europe and Canada, where the ‘reefer madness’ days are coming to a much-lauded end. It is about time the American populace stood up and demanded its Constitutional rights. Without the freedom to manage one’s own brain chemistry, the basis of one’s thinking processes, the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and religion are meaningless,” noted Mr. Bryan.

More information is available from the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy which links directly to the Senate Committee’s website: http://www.cfdp.ca/ The release of the report will be available via web cast at: http://senate-senat.ca/webcast.asp. Additional materials can be found at the American Common Sense for Drug Policy site http://www.csdp.org/news/news/canada.htm and the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics at http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/issues/drug_policy_index.htm

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