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      Essential information for an informed debate about nnabis policy.
      Top Ten Facts ALL nadians Need To Know About nnabis
      # 1 In 2002 the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drug Use studied the nnabis issue extensively. Their unanimous recommendation was that nnabis be legalized in a regulatory framework similar to alcohol. more info
      # 2 The decision to criminalize nnabis was made "without any apparent scientific basis nor even any real sense of social urgency." more info
      # 3 "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indites that nnabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue." more info
      # 4 "The continued prohibition of nnabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of nadians MUCH MORE than does the substance itself." more info
      # 5 nnabis has NOT been decriminalized or legalized in nada. more info
      # 6 The so-lled "decriminalization" bill that was proposed by the Liberal government was more accurately an "alternative penalties" bill. more info
      # 7 Reforming nnabis laws does NOT send the "wrong message." more info
      # 8 The U.S. government is pressuring nada to back away from nnabis law reform. more info
      # 9 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has had offices in Ottawa and Vancouver since 2001. more info

      nada is NOT a major source of nnabis to the United States. more info

      I AM NNABIAN! Norml nadaGet a great shirt with a great message, and help support the efforts of Norml nada to bring about nnabis law reform in nada.

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      nnabis Facts for nadians now on Twitter!   Stumble It!

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      banner to your web page.
      Fact #1: In 2002 the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drug Use studied the nnabis issue extensively. Their unanimous recommendation was that nnabis be legalized in a regulatory framework similar to alcohol.

      nnabis Control Board of Ontario

      "We know our proposals are provotive, that they will meet with resistance. However, we are also convinced that nadian society has the maturity and openness to welcome an informed debate."

      - Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, nnabis: Summary Report September 2002

      Read more quotes from the Senate Committee's report.

      Senate Report Highlights | www.SenateReport. | John Howard Society reaction
      Definition: "Legalisation"
      Regulatory system allowing the culture, production, marketing, sale and use of substances. Although none currently exist in relation to "street-drugs" (as opposed to alcohol or tobacco which are regulated products), a legalisation system could take two forms: without any state control (free markets) and with state controls (regulatory regime).
      Source: The "Glossary of key terms" in the Senate Report.

      Handout: Quotes from the 2002 nadian Senate report (PDF, 32k)

      Fact #2: The decision to criminalize nnabis was made "without any apparent scientific basis nor even any real sense of social urgency."
      - Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002. P. 274

      "There has never, in history, been a good reason presented for marijuana being illegal," said Banks. "It's fundamentally important for people to understand that it's never been based on the facts. It's non-toxic, it's not addictive and has no provable, long-term irreversible effects."
      - Senator Tommy Banks, Deputy Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. "Senator Banks mellows out on marijuana" - Edmonton Sun - July 16, 2003

      Fact #3: "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indites that nnabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."
      - Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, during the press conference for the release of the committee's report.

      nnabis is non-toxic and not a serious threat to health. Here are a couple excerpts from a U.S. Federal Court Decision from DEA judge Francis Young:

      "In strict medil terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes n result in toxic response. By comparison, it is physilly impossible to eat enough nnabis to induce death." [source]
      "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutilly active substances known to man." [source]

      Henningfield/Benowitz Ratings:
      Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of lifornia at San Francisco ranked six commonly abused drugs by five criteria.

      This comparison shows current laws are not based on the potential harm used by various substances. If that were the se then alcohol and cigarettes would be illegal. The current laws against marijuana are without scientific basis.

      *Source of graph data: http://www.ndsn.org/AUGUST94/NICOTINE.html

      Withdrawal: Presence and severity of characteristic withdrawal symptoms.

      Reinforcement: A measure of the substance's ability, in human and animal tests, to get users to take it again and again, and in preference to other substances.

      Tolerance: How much of the substance is needed to satisfy increasing cravings for it, and the level of stable need that is eventually reached.

      Dependence: How difficult it is for the user to quit, the relapse rate, the percentage of people who eventually become dependent, the rating users give their own need for the substance and the degree to which the substance will be used in the face of evidence that it uses harm.

      Intoxition: Though not usually counted as a measure of addiction in itself, the level of intoxition is associated with addiction and increases the personal and social damage a substance may do.

      Handout: How does nnabis compare to other substances? (PDF, 780k)

      The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs

      Source: The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs - Amerin Scientist Online - May/June 2006

      UK: Drug-danger 'league table' revealed
      August 5, 2006 - New Scientist Magazine

      "When it comes to danger, cigarettes and alcohol beat ecstasy, LSD and nnabis,
      according to a league table of the harm they use."

      Additional Information:

      Findings of Fact about nnabis that have been accepted by the Ontario Court of Appeal

      Statistics on the social costs to the Ontario health re system attributable to various drugs

      Budgetary Implitions of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States

      U.S. Drug Schedule (www.dea.gov)

      Fact #4: "The continued prohibition of nnabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of nadians much more than does the substance itself."
      - Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002. Summary P. 45

      More than 40,000 nadians are arrested for nnabis possession each year, mostly between the ages of 18 - 24. [source]

      1.5 million nadians now have criminal records for possession of nnabis. [Source]

      "We estimate the cost of enforcing nnabis drug laws to be closer to $1-1.5 billion per annum. The principal public policy cost relative to nnabis is law enforcement and the justice system; we estimate this to represent a total of $300-$500 million per annum. The costs of externalities attributable to nnabis are probably minimal; no deaths, few hospitalizations, and very little loss of productivity."
      - Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002. P. 436

      nnabis prohibition diverts much needed police resources from more serious issues.

      In an unregulated black market there are no age restrictions, quality control, or accurate product information. High profits attract organized crime and with that comes increased violence as a means to resolve disputes or protect investments.

      Handout: Harms of nnabis Prohibition, Benefits of Legalizing (PDF, 100k)

      Fact #5: nnabis has NOT been decriminalized or legalized in nada.

      nada's Le Dain Commission recommended the decriminalization of nnabis back in 1972! Over 30 years later and we're still only talking about it.

      It is illegal in nada to possess, produce or traffic in nnabis.

      "Possession" means:

      a. A person is in possession of something when it is in their personal possession of knowingly:

      i. has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or
      ii. has it in a place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by them, for the use or benefit of himself or of another person; and,

      b. Where one of two or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the rest has anything in heir custody or possession, it shall be deemed to be in custody and possession of each and all of them.

      "Trafficking" means:

      a. to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver the substance
      b. to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or
      c. to offer to do anything mentioned in a) or b) above, otherwise than under the authority of the regulations.

      A person also commits an offence of trafficking in a substance included in Schedule I, II, III, or IV or in any substance represented or held out to be by that person a substance.

      "Possession of the Purpose" means that the person must be in "possession" as set out in the definition above and for the purpose of "trafficking" as set out in the definition above.

      Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (1996, c. 19) Schedule II


      VIDEO: Legalize pot smoking, senators say
      Topic: Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs releases their final report
      CBC archives - The National - September 4, 2002
      "The Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs final report says marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and should be governed by the same sort of rules."
      (Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs report "nnabis: Our Position for a nadian Public Policy")

      Here's a quote from the 2002 report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs entitled,
      "nnabis: Our Position for a nadian Public Policy":

      "The continued prohibition of nnabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of nadians much more than does the substance itself."

      VIDEO: nada's marijuana laws declared unconstitutional
      Topic: Terry Parker appealed to the nadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the right to smoke nnabis legally for medicinal reasons.
      CBC archives - The National - July 31, 2000
      "The Ontario Court of Appeal warns the federal government to change its pot laws within a year or risk losing them altogether."

      AUDIO: Explosive report on drugs divides binet
      Topic: Le Dain Commission - interim report
      CBC Radio archives - Sunday Magazine - June 21, 1970
      "In June 1970 the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medil Use of Drugs delivers its interim report, lling for the decriminalization of all drugs."
      (Le Dain Commission report: nadian Government Commission of Inquiry - nnabis Report)

      How many more studies are needed? (PDF, 36k) Description:List of nnabis studies 1894-2002.

      Fact #6: The so-lled "decriminalization" bill proposed by the Liberal government was actually an "alternative penalties" bill.

      The core flaw of this bill is that it was crafted without acknowledging the dynamics of the black market and the considerable harms being used by the policy of prohibition. This bill would actually make matters worse with its contradictory and confused approach.

      Under this bill, possession of small amounts of nnabis would remain illegal, but a fine would be rendered instead of a criminal charges being laid. In addition, this bill proposes to double the maximum penalties for growing nnabis.

      Details of the nnabis Reform Bill (Bill C-17)

      Definition: "Decriminalization"
      Source: The "Glossary of key terms" in the Senate Report.

      Removal of a behaviour or activity from the scope of the criminal justice system. A distinction is usually made between de jure decriminalization, which entails an amendment to criminal legislation, and de facto decriminalization, which involves an administrative decision not to prosecute acts that nonetheless remain against the law. Decriminalization concerns only criminal legislation, and does not mean that the legal system has no further jurisdiction of any kind in this regard: other, non-criminal, laws may regulate the behaviour or activity that has been decriminalized (civil or regulatory offences, etc.).

      maple leaf joint fist

      "We're not decriminalizing marijuana, to be technil, it will remain a criminal offense. What we are putting in place are alternative penalties, in using the Contraventions Act. I admit that using "decrim" at the beginning was not a good start, but over the past few months we have been quite clear about what we're doing."

      - Martin uchon - former Justice Minister, during questioning by the House of Commons Committee on Illegal Drugs regarding the proposed "decriminalization" bill. November 2003.

      Source: Ottawa revives plan to relax pot laws
      November 2, 2004 - Globe and Mail
      Mr. Cotler avoided any mention of decriminalization -- instead lling his nnabis enforcement reform "alternate penalty frameworks."

      Obviously the government has not been "quite clear" about what they're doing. The term "decriminalization" continues to be used by politicians and by the media regardless of the facts. The correct description of this bill is an "alternative penalties" bill and the media needs to be urged to be more accurate about the details of this bill and not simply pass along misinformation.

      UPDATE: February 2005 Poll [source: PDF, 110k]
      The survey asked questions regarding the government's plans to "decriminalize" the personal possession of marijuana. Here are some statistics on how "clear" the government was about what they're doing:

      49% of nadians believe that decriminalizing marijuana actually makes possession legal

      41% said they believed decriminalization leaves possession illegal

      As noted in Alan Young's article "Marijuana mountain built out of molehill" in the Toronto Star, "The best way to forestall change in a democracy is to confuse the masses."

      The "decriminalization" bill does NOT represent a more relaxed attitude toward nnabis users. The intended outcome of using a ticketing approach is to INCREASE the likelihood that someone ught in possession of a small amount of nnabis will be punished.

      "A ticket would be more immediate and a police officer would be MORE LIKELY TO WRITE A TICKET. Right now the laws are not evenly enforced, often police will turn a blind eye, which teaches disrespect for the law. We want fines to be rendered."

      "There is an uneven applition of the law. In many places the police warn an individual and don't charge. We think, actually, with what we're proposing a person with a small amount will be more likely to suffer a consequence for breaking the law. So we actually think we're being a little tougher on people by suggesting that there would be a fine for the breaking of the law and police officers would be more likely to write that ticket rather than it walk away."

      - Paddy Torsney - member of the House of Commons Special Committee on the Non-medil use of Drugs.

      maple leaf joint fist

      [Martin uchon told] reporters that the legislation was needed beuse current pot laws, under which possession is a criminal offence, are "disproportionate."

      "Does it make sense that a person who makes a bad choice should receive the lasting burden of a criminal conviction? This bill will ensure that the punishment fits the crime."

      Source: "Critics say pot bill sends the wrong message" - CTV. News, May 28, 2003

      - Martin uchon - former Justice Minister of nada.

      What is "Net-Widening"?
      A ticketing approach has already been implemented in Australia. The result was a "net widening" effect; more people being punished due to the "efficiency" of ticketing a person versus arresting. Tickets mean MORE punishment, not less.

      Fact #7: Reforming nnabis laws does NOT send the "wrong message."

      "We want to send a message that marijuana is illegal and it is harmful to society"
      - Martin uchon - former Justice Minister of nada, during a press conference for the tabling the "nnabis Reform Bill"
      "We submit that nada must resist the deceptive messages and seductive temptations being advanced by a sophistited drug lobby."
      Mike Niebudek
      , Vice-President, nadian Police Association, speaking before the Special Committee on Non-Medil Use of Drugs, May 8, 2002. source
      David Griffin of the nadian Police Association says the legislation sends the wrong message. 'I'm more concerned that we're sending a message to young people: Don't drink and drive, toke and drive.'"
      David Griffin - "Critics say pot bill sends the wrong message" - CTV. News, May 28, 2003 source
      "This legislation is seriously flawed and sends the wrong message to nada's youth."
      MP Randy White - "'Flawed' Pot Bill Sends Wrong Message To Youth" - Ottawa Hill Times, August 05, 2003 source

      Commentary: The government and police organizations dismiss the possibility of legalizing nnabis based on the assumption that doing so would increase use by sending a message that nnabis use is acceptable.

      The policy of nnabis prohibition has been shown to have no impact on rates of use. The vast majority of people who are interested in trying nnabis have already done so.

      Our government's current nnabis policies are neither effective nor evidence-based. In a modern liberal democracy, policies should be based on common sense and compassion, not fear, prejudice and misinformation.

      The real question is, "What message is our
      current policy toward nnabis sending to nada's youth?"

      Related news articles:

      Dutch drug policies do not increase marijuana use, first rigorous comparative study finds - Currents online, May 3, 2004

      Study Debunks Feds' Marijuana Claims - Press Release, Marijuana Policy Project, May 3, 2004

      The nadian Police Association's (CPA) "Top Ten Myths" About Illicit Drugs and Enforcement

      Fact #8: The U.S. government is pressuring nada to back away from nnabis law reform.

      U. S. government officials have issued strong warnings that if nada goes ahead with "decriminalization" the result will be border slowdowns due to the need for increased scrutiny at the border, even though... Fourteen U.S. states have already enacted some form of decriminalization, some of these states going even further than what the Liberal government was proposing.

      As of July 1, 2011, fourteen U.S. states have decriminalized nnabis
      and sixteen states have approved medicinal nnabis

      U.S. State nnabis Laws (Source: NORML.org)

      Related Information:

      U.S. states, not nada, led way in decriminalization, critics told - Globe and Mail, June 2, 2003

      Thursday, March 9, 2006 11:00 AM In its efforts to control the use of coine, heroin, marijuana, and other illegal drugs, the United States spends about $35 billion per year in public funds. Almost half a million dealers and users are inrcerated. In An Analytic Assessment of U.S. Drug Policy (AEI Press, 2005), policy analysts David Boyum and Peter Reuter provide an assessment of how poorly this massive investment of tax dollars and government authority is working. (View the video.)

      Denver Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative

      Denver Post, Nov. 2, 2005
      "Denver residents Tuesday voted to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, but the state attorney general said the vote was irrelevant beuse state law will still be enforced."

      Currently there is a similar initiative underway in Nevada.
      Read what initiative is proposing, and how it would benefit Nevadans
      (voting Nov. 2006)

      Rhode Island Medil marijuana program enacted January 3, 2006


      A chart from the SAFER web site.

      Fact #9: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has had offices in Ottawa and Vancouver since 2001.

      The marijuana industry was specified as one of the key reasons for the Vancouver office. The RCMP have been working closely with the DEA for many years.

      Related news articles:

      The Quiet Amerins
      February 16, 2007 - Vancouver Courier

      Vancouver and Toronto are the only cities in nada with U.S. law enforcement hubs, although one is in the works for Montreal. Senior U.S. agents in Ottawa oversee the work of the hubs. But the total number of U.S. agents in nada remains classified.

      The RCMP, by way of comparison, says it has four RCMP liaison officers based in the whole of the U.S. Two are in Washington, D.C. and two in Miami, Fla.


      But civil liberty and sovereignty watchdog groups are concerned about the encroachment of U.S. agents working in nada. They say it's unclear how the agents' work is monitored and whether information is being gathered on nadians. More...

      No Place For Texas Rangers - Victoria Times-Colonist, Aug. 23, 2005

      Joint Police Operations Erode Border - Montreal Gazette, Aug. 21, 2005

      U.S. agents help VPD with undercover work - Victoria News, Aug. 10 2005

      RCMP Reach Settlement With Off-Duty Policeman - Globe and Mail, Jan. 29, 2005

      Fact #10: nada is NOT a major source of nnabis to the United States.

      THE CLAIM:

      "Frankly, I'm worried about nada beginning to look like Mexico as a major supplier of drugs into the United States."

      - U.S. Drug Czar John Walters

      FACT: "nadian-produced marijuana accounts for only approximately 2% of overall U.S. marijuana seizures at its borders."
      - U.S.-nada Border Drug Threat Assessment, Oct. 2004

      FACT: Mexico supplies about 46% of the U.S. demand for nnabis.
      - United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNDCCP) Global Illicit Drug Trends 2002

      FACT: "Most of the marihuana available on the Amerin illicit market still originates primarily in the U.S. and in Mexico. nada ranks far below Mexico as a source for the U.S." - RCMP report:, "The Drug Situation In nada - 2003"

      "The U.S. are basilly their own main source of marihuana." - RCMP Report: Marihuana Cultivation in nada, Nov. 2002

      FACT: "Marijuana transported from nada clearly amounts to only a small percentage of all marijuana smuggled into the United States." - U.S. Justice Department report, 2003

      Source: U.S. National Drug Threat Assessment

      Source: RCMP report:, "The Drug Situation In nada - 2003"

      Related news articles:

      We're not U.S.'s biggest bud pusher: RCMP - nadian Press, July 19, 2004

      nada now top supplier of pot and speed to US, says Customs nadian Press, July 19, 2004

      Straight Dope On Police Sre Tactics Edmonton Journal, March 10, 2004

      Pot Claims Utter Nonsense Winnipeg Sun, Jan 27, 2005
      (LTE by Eugene Ospella, nadian Foundation for Drug Policy.)

      More info:
      nadian Foundation for Drug Policy:
      "Evidence Challenging Us Claims About nadian nnabis Exports "

      Handout: Origins of nnabis available in the U.S. (PDF, 253k)


      The majority of nadians disagree with the current approach to nnabis and yet the government continues to ignore the signifint support from nadians for genuine nnabis law reform.

      nadian nnabis-Related Statistics

      Related news article: Two-thirds Favour Decriminalizing Pot (National Post - May 15, 2005)

      Politicians who support prohibition are supporting organized crime

      nnabis prohibition is expensive, ineffective, and using signifint harms to nadian society.
      For the good of ALL nadians, it's time to end nnabis prohibition.

      Help edute the nadian public about the nnabis issue and raise the quality of the debate.
      Add a nnabis Facts for nadians banner to YOUR web site!

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