Monday, May 05, 2008

The Canadian Pot Law is no more

Calgary’s World Wide Marijuana March

On May 4th, a well attended march for legalisation happened in Calgary. Considering there was a crowd about 500 strong, mostly stoned, there were hardly any disturbances.

There were three arrests for possession. Apparently the Calgary Police Service is unaware that the Canadian pot laws have fallen.

In July 2007 the Supreme Court struck down the laws pertaining to possession for personal use.

The dissolution of the archaic pot laws has been covered by numerous Canadian news outlets including an article by Brian Preston published February 27 2008 in The National Post.

The laws were previously challenged and struck down in 2003 and there is currently a class action suit underway to deal with people who were wrongfully charged with possession between the years 2001 and 2003.

The existing laws were challenged and again stricken from the books in July 2007. The Supreme Court ruled that because the law has not been rewritten to accommodate medical users, the prohibition on all use -- including recreational use -- collapses because the law is unconstitutional.

According to Peter Hogg, an expert in Canadian constitutional law, once the Supreme Court of Canada has held that a law is unconstitutional, there can be no doubt about the status of the law: it is invalid, and need not be obeyed.

Since July 2007, a growing number of people across Canada has been successful having charges of simple possession dropped. This is quite simply because the law no longer exists and therefore charges cannot legally be laid.

It seems either the police services nationally either do not know the possession laws are no longer valid or they choose to ignore that fact.

The reality is that Canadian courts and jails are crammed with people who pose absolutely no danger to anyone, including themselves but have been charged with simple possession.

The cost to Canadians of charging, processing, incarcerating and prosecuting these non-offenders is astronomical. As far back as 1996, the annual cost was over $400 Million and estimated to be more likely double that number, funds that should be put towards useful expenditures.

There is no question that for-profit grow operations should remain illegal – at least until there is appropriate legislation and management in place to regulate such businesses.

However, as it pertains to people possessing small quantities of marijuana for their own use, it is well past time Canadians got past their Reefer Madness silliness and our politicians stopped worrying about whether Canadian laws offend the architects of the failed US war on drugs.

For those who’ve been unlawfully charged, click HERE for a Canadian defence kit. This kit has been used in several recent trials where the defendants either were acquitted or had their possession charges stayed.

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