September 4, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORML Canada commemorates the 12th anniversary of
2002 Senate Report “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy”
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada (NORML Canada) commemorates the 12th anniversary of the Senate Report on Cannabis with our annual awareness campaign (senatereport.ca).
To elevate the quality of the discussion of legalization that’s currently taking place in Canada, there is no better document to reference than the Senate Report on Cannabis. This report should be consulted by anyone, especially politicians, wishing to have an informed opinion on cannabis policy.
Like previous high-level analyses, the 2002 Report of The Senate Special Committee On Illegal Drugs found that “the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself.”
The comprehensive review of drug policies called on the government of Canada to “adopt an integrated policy on the risks and harmful effects of psychoactive substances covering the whole range of substances including cannabis, medications, alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs, focusing on educating users, detecting and preventing at-risk use and treating excessive use” rather than relying on demonstrably ineffective punishment and criminal stigmatization.
Among the reports other recommendations relating to cannabis:
- Only behaviour causing demonstrable harm to others should be prohibited: illegal trafficking, selling to young people under the age of sixteen and impaired driving.
- Legislation for a cannabis exemption scheme should be introduced stipulating conditions for obtaining licences, producing and selling cannabis; criminal penalties for illegal trafficking and export; and the preservation of criminal penalties for all activities falling outside the scope of the exemption scheme.
- Present medicinal marijuana provisions are not effective and must be revised to provide greater access for those in need.
- Amnesty should be provided for any person convicted of possession of cannabis under current or past legislation.
NORML Canada does not endorse greater use of cannabis, nor less. We believe, as the Senate Committee did, that Canadian adults should have the right to make their own informed decisions on their own behaviour.
NORML Canada calls on the federal government to be guided by the best evidence and public health science toward the modernization of Canada’s cannabis laws so that persons may purchase and use cannabis once they have attained the age of majority if they so wish and without fear of criminal prosecution.