OTTAWA, December 10, 2002 ( – In comments outside the House of Commons yesterday, federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon said the government would “move ahead quickly” to decriminalize marijuana.  “I don’t like to give you a date or a time frame, but let’s say the beginning of next year, the four first months of next year,” he told reporters.  REAL Women of Canada blasted the announcement saying also that a former report on the issue and one set to come out next week are merely window dressing for the decriminalization proposal.  “The House of Commons Committee on Drug Use, which report will be released this Thursday, and the Senate Committee Report on Marijuana which was released in September, were set up only to provide the excuse for the government to liberalize the drug laws which it had intended to do all along,” said the group in a release.  REAL Women explained that “European experience on harm reduction policies has shown beyond doubt that the decriminalization of marijuana, free needle exchanges and heroin injection sites recommended in the government’s Committee report, will only serve to widen access to drugs to the detriment of the drug users themselves and to society.  For example, marijuana use increased 250% in the Netherlands when it liberalized its drug law in 1976 and liberal drug policies in Switzerland has resulted in Swiss adolescents using more drugs per capita than any other country in western Europe.”“The proven answer to drug addiction,” says REAL Women, “is deterrent legislation, backed by well-funded, sound public education and proper enforcement of the law, as well as the wide availability of treatment centers.  Such action is the truly compassionate and human response to the problem.”  Coverage appeared online at:


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