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.


Letter from Eldon Williams, MP for Calgary North

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Mr A.D. Charbonneau
Executive Member
Alberta Legalization of
Cannabis Committee
P.O. Box 96
Station G
CALGARY, Alberta

Dear Mr. Charbonneau:
Re: Marijuana

Thank you for your brochure.

Our Party has taken the position that in reference to marijuana in the matter of simple possession it should be removed from the Narcotics’ Control Act to the Food and Drug Act.

Further we would pass a special statute that anyone convicted of simple possession, which would be similar to receiving a ticket and going through a stop sign, would not have any criminal record which would prevent this person from attending any educational institutions, obtaining a job with any corporation or any business or any department of the government.

In the main we would then be approaching what many people feel is more just. This may not be as far as your association would want to go but on the other hand there is a conflict of medical evidence whether it is harmful or not and in light of that fact there are people who are very opposed to any change.

This is one of those matters in which we can not satisfy everyone, no matter what policy is adopted and we are trying to approach it with a very realistic point of view. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Yours Sincerely
Eldon M. Woolliams

Letter from the Office of the Minister of Justice

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April 24, 1979
The Members
Alberta Legalization of
Cannabis Committee
Box G96
Calgary, Alberta
Dear Members:

On behalf of the Honourable Marc Lalonde, I acknowledge receipt of your telegram of March 30,1979, requesting a moratorium on all prosecutions for simple possession of a small quantity of cannabis. Since it is not the stated intention of the Government to legalize the simple possession of cannabis, and since the courts presently have frequent recourse to awarding absolute discharges which do not result in a conviction instead of imposing a sentence on those found guilty of that offence, it would appear inappropriate at this time to stop enforcing altogether the provisions of the Narcotic Control Act.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Phelps
Special Adviser

Legalized drugs would quash dealers -Abby

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Legalized drugs would quash dealers -Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I read the letter you published from “Inmate 711895” and had to respond. “Inmate” stated that he smoked’ marijuana for 20 years, and during that time, he also used cocaine.

DEAR MR. POTTRATZ: Just as bootleggers were forced out of business in 1933 when Prohibition was repealed and made the sale of liquor legal (thus eliminating racketeering), so too would the legalization of drugs put drug dealers out of business. It would also guarantee government-approved quality, and the tax on drugs would provide an ongoing source of revenue for drug-education programs. An added plus: There would be far less crowding in our prisons due to drug-related crimes. It’s something to consider.

Pot protest quiet, casual

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EDMONTON, (CP) – At least nine persons were arrested Monday when about 2,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the provincial legislature for a sunny, mellow day of protesting against Canada’s marijuana laws. The “smoke-in” was intended to give marijuana users a chance to “toke” together while urging , decriminalization of the drug. A few demonstrators did light up, but most decided not to antagonize the 60 policemen, many in plainclothes, who mingled through the crowd.The mood at the smoke-in was casual, much like an outdoor rock concert.

Anti-pot law lobby backed by civil liberties resolution
The effort to liberalize marijuana laws in Canada moved on two fronts in Calgary Wednesday. About 250 pot promoters gathered in Prince’s Island Park during the evening for the first public rally of the Alberta Legalization of Cannabis Committee and organizers say about 100 members were added to the group’s roll-call. While the rest of Calgary celebrates the Stampede, ALCC has declared this as cannabis week. Meanwhile, the Calgary Civil Liberties Union urged Ottawa to take some of the legal sting out of marijuana use. Dave, a executive member of ALCC who doesn’t want his last name made public for fear he’ll lose his job, said one of the group’s priority goals is to smooth out courtroom discrepancies in marijuana cases among provinces. “In Calgary, only three per cent of the cases get a discharge. In Ontario. it’s 38 per cent.” he told the rally which drew a crowd of young persons ranging from the junior high level to balding long-hairs.

Final letter. ALCC ceases activities

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63 Heston Street N.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2K 2C3

Mr. Sheldon Chumir
Calgary Civil Liberties Association
#210,639 – 5 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta

Dear Sheldon:
As promised, please find enclosed a cheque for $437.11. This effectively ends the activities of the A.L.C.C. in Calgary. Although our goal was not achieved, we like to think that we had some effect on the over-zealous enforcement of marijuana laws in Alberta.

Just so David and I don’t feel totally cut off from the battle for law reform, please keep us informed of the activities of your association. Thank you for your advice and support over the years and keep up the good work.

Yours truly,
Garry Moodie

cc A. D. Charbonneau
850 Elder Road
Kamloops, B.C.
V2B 6K8

Letter from the Minister of National Health and Welfare

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Mr. A.D. Charbonneau,
Alberta Legalization of Cannabis Committee (Calgary),
1721-24 A Street, S.W.,
CALGARY, Alberta.
T3C lJ5
Dear Mr. Charbonneau:

Thank you for your letter of November 3, 1979, concerning cannabis legislation.

I am aware that the news media recently reported that a very large percentage of cannabis possession cases are granted an absolute or conditional discharge, a figure which does not accord with the statistical information gathered by the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs, in my Department. I nonetheless thank you for your interest in setting the record straight.

The issues surrounding the question of appropriate cannabis legislation are complex, and public understanding of them is certainly not assisted
by erroneous statistical reports in the press. A discussion paper has been in preparation which would outline the health and social issues and the policy options available. It was my hope that this paper would help public discussion of the issues before consideration of the legislative questions by Parliament.

As you know, Parliament has been dissolved, and it is unlikely that there will be opportunities for adequate public comment on our discussion paper
prior to the forthcoming election.

I want to thank you again for forwarding your comments on this important issue.

David Crombie

Hope all is well. Take care.
In the Minister’s absence,
this letter was signed by
his Executive Assistant,
David Armstrong.

Safety council’s worried about pot-smoking drivers

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Three nice young people came to see me the other day, one of whom I had met last year when he and other members of ihe Alberta Legislation of Cannabis Committee took advantage of a’ group plan and sponsored a horse race at Stampede Park. They showed me a Herald clipping and complained that, Joe Clark had “broken another election promise.” The story was out of Ottawa and it told how the federal government had decided not to make any changes in the marijuana laws Until it decides how dangerous the drug is. My visitors were under the impression that Clark had promised the ¬†conservatives would decriminalize the possession of pot if they won the federal election.

Further medical studies delay drug law changes
OTTAWA (CP) Marijuana users fear government promises to reform the country’s drug laws are about to go up in smoke. Andy Rapoch, head of an organization fighting for legal changes, said today.

Alberta’s mothers of confederation

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In her small black suitcase. Irene Parlby carried a pair of folding clothes hangers. She did a lot of travelling, a lot of public speaking. The small black hangers, still neat and shiny, are on display at Glenbow, along with her suitcase, black portable typewriter, emergency sewing kit. desk and chair – even her black velvet dress, probably the same one she wore as a . delegate to, the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. These relics of Alberta’s first female cabinet minister are the highlight of an exhibition that ¬†opened without ceremony last weekend. It honors the five Alberta ¬†women responsible for having members of their sex classed as “persons” in Canada.

Expert prescribes kid drug lessons

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TORONTO (CP) Children should start learning about drugs in grade 1, says Heinz Lehmann, a professor of psychiatry at McGill University.
“They learn about coffee from seeing their parents drink it and about alcohol from watching their father or mother get drunk,” Lehmann said in an interview, “If they were educated about drugs, they’d understand and know more than their parents do now about all the possible dangers.”

No quick change planned in pot possession laws
OTTAWA (CP) the federal government promised provincial attorneys-general Friday it will not change laws against possession of marijuana until it decides how dangerous the drug is.

Cancer victim dies as marijuana is legalized
LANSING Mich (AP) Keith Nutt was breaking the law each time he smoked marijuana to ease the pain of his cancer treatments.Just hours after he died, the state of Michigan made his remedy legal.