Letter from Office of the Minister of Justice

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August 3, 1979.
Mr. A.D. Charbonneau,
Executive Member,
Alberta Legalization of Cannabis
Committee (Calgary),

P.O. Box 96,
Postal Station ‘G’,
Calgary, Alberta.

Mr. Charbonneau:

The Honourable Senator Jacques Flynn has asked me to reply to your letter of June 17, 1979, in which you make known to us your views on the decriminalization of marihuana.

Mr. Clark’s government is currently reviewing-this and other issues with a view to formulating policies and setting priorities. Several of these policies will be enunciated in the weeks and months to come. The Speech from the Throne in the fall will indicate which of them the Government intends to implement in the first session of the 31st Parliament.

It is the feeling of the government that imposing criminal sanctions against the use of marihuana is not the most effective means of dealing with this problem. By making the possession of marihuana an offence under the Food and Drug Act, we would continue to discourage the use of this drug.

Serious attempts are made to ensure equitable sentencing across Canada and judges meet regularly to discuss such matters. At present, a discharge is the rule rather than the exception for simple possession of marihuana. However, traffickers are, and will continue to be, prosecuted with vigour.

Be assured, Mr. Charbonneau, that your comments will be given serious consideration by the Government as it continues its
study of this important matter.

Ronald C. Lefebvre,
Executive Assistant.