Marijuana law not valid: Ontario judge

  • Jan. 6, 2003 8:00 a.m.

An Ontario judge has ruled that federal laws against marijuana possession are no longer valid, a decision that could eventually affect the whole country.
Judge Douglas Phillips made the decision in Windsor January 2, but by the next day, Ottawa had announced it was appealing the ruling, according to globeandmail.com. In his decision, Judge Phillips said a previous Ontario Court of Appeal Ruling had required Parliament to pass new marijuana laws. That has not happened, so he ruled that the current possession laws are invalid.
Here on the islands, Queen Charlotte resident Ken Peerless, who ran for the Marijuana Party of BC in the last provincial election, said Canada’s drug laws definitely need an overhaul. He cautioned that the ruling does not yet affect anyone except the teenager charged in the Ontario case.
“The Liberal government is between a rock and a hard place,” he said, speculating that although most Canadians and their politicians want to decriminalize marijuana, the government is facing pressure from the United States to keep firm laws in place.
“Islanders would be a whole lot happier if it was decriminalized, legalized,” Mr. Peerless said, “And people who don’t smoke pot don’t give a rat’s ass.”