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

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.

Letter from the Canadian Bar Association

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P. O. Box 610,
St. John’s, Nfld.
July 13, 1978.

Mr. David Charbonneau, .
Alberta Legalization of Cannabis Committee,
P. O. Box 96, Postal Station ‘”G”,
CALGARY, Alberta.
T3A 2G5

Dear David,
I have been asked to reply to your letter of July 6, 1978 addressed to Mr. Jim Adams.

It is the intention of the Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Bar Association to engage a speaker to present the
case in favour of decriminalization of marijuana.

Your concerns will certainly be taken into consideration. It is likely that you will hear from us again in the
near future regarding any additional resource material you may have available.

Thank you for your interest in this matter.
Yours truly,

cc: Mr. Jim Adams

Letter from Alberta Attorney General

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Mr. A. David Charbonneau,
Executive Member,
P.O. Box 96, Postal Station “G”
CALGARY, Alberta.

Dear Mr. Charbonneau:

In your letter of May 24, 1978, which I note was acknowledged by my executive Assistant, you suggest that Federal Criminal Law should be uniformly administered across Canada. The administration of justice is the exclusive responsibility of the Province, although it is the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government to make laws related to criminal matters and procedures. While there is a high degree of consistency in the
administration of criminal law in Canada, it is not totally consistent, nor is it intended to be, since ten separate jurisdictions have the responsibility for the administration of justice in ten separate provinces.

I agree with Chief Justice McGillivray that the Courts in this Province are primarily concerned about uniformity within the Province of Alberta, but, of course, they must be aware and consider sentencing patterns elsewhere in Canada.

Yours Truly,
Jim Foster
Attorney General.

Letter from the Institute of Law Research and Reform

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A. David Charbonneau, Esq.
Executive Member Alberta Legalization of Cannabis
Committee (Calgary)
P.O. Box 96, Station ‘G’
Calgary, ,Alberta
T3A 2G5

Dear Mr. Charbonneau:

I acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 24th which arrived while I was out of the city.

The subject of the way in which the law should treat, or should not treat, cannabis is certainly one of great public importance. It is not one in which this Institute has done any work. I would have to say that I do not think that it is likely that we will. Apart from any other question we tend to restrict ourselves to provincial matters except where something under federal jurisdiction is entangled with something under provincial jurisdiction. I therefore regret that I do not think that we can be of assistance to you.

Very truly,

W. H. Hurlburt

ALCC Bulletin

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The Canadian Bar Association will be taking a position on the legalization of cannabis at their annual August meeting in Halifax. We intend
to forward pro-legalization literature to each member of the C.B.A.

We encourage all ALCC members to write to their member for parliament expressing their views on legalization. Please forward letters to:
Mr. Harvie Andre, MP Calgary Centre
104 – 52417 Ave. S.W.
Mr. Eldon Wooliams, MP Calgary North
229 – 81816 Ave. N.W.
Mr. Peter Bawden, MP Calgary South
5th Floor 640 8 Ave. S.W.

Paraquat Test Kits have been selling briskly at Boodlum and Charisma, two downtown locations. We’ve had rumours of contaminated pot in Calgary but so far nothing to substantiate the rumours. Rolling Stone (June 1/78) has printed a warning against ineffective test kits now on the market. ALCC kits have been found to be capable of detecting paraquat as low as 3 parts per million (ppm) in concentration. (Write for details on how we determined this.) In 13 seizures of marijuana from the southwest United States, the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) identified paraquat contamination ranging from 3 to 2,264 ppm with an average contamination of 452 ppm. We’re marketing these test kits for two reasons: to provide a service to cannabis smokers and to raise money for the ALCc. We hate to sound commercial, but it’s a damn good kit.

In our last newsletter we reported that we applied for a grant from the Alberta Law Foundation. We were not successful. However, the Edmonton chapter of the ALCC received $6400 for the establishment of an office and salaries for staff.

Letter from the Attorney General of Alberta

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Mr. A. David Charbonneau,
Executive Member,
Alberta Legalization of Cannabis Committtee
P.O. Box 96, Postal Station “G”,
CALGARY, Alberta.
T3A 2G5

Dear Mr. Charbonneau:

On behalf of the Attorney General I acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 24,1978, concerning uniformity of sentencing. Please be advised that your letter will be brought to the attention of the Attorney General so that he may be aware of your concerns.

Yours truly,
Mary Joan St. Pierre
Executive Assistant,