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The Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs

Senate Committee discussion paper sets agenda for public meetings across Canada

OTTAWA, May 2, 2002 - The Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs today released a discussion paper outlining its findings to date on marijuana policy and setting out issues for consideration in public meetings to be held across Canada in the coming weeks.  

The Committee will be holding public hearings with experts and introducing an innovative town hall meeting format designed to enhance public participation in policy discussions in six locations across Canada in May and June, 2002.  Meetings are being scheduled for:

Regina, Sask.                May 13,
Richmond, B.C              May 14,
Montreal, Que.              May 30,
Mount Pearl, Nfld.     June 3 & 4,
Moncton, N.B.              June 5, and
Windsor, Ont.                June 6 & 7.

“Our Committee has reached a stage in our deliberations where preliminary conclusions are becoming more apparent to us.  For example scientific evidence seems to indicate that cannabis is not a gateway drug.  It may be appropriate to treat it more like alcohol or tobacco than like the harder drugs,” said Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, Special Committee Chair.  “We now need to add the views of Canadians to expert testimony and evidence we’ve received to date to see where we should go from here.  In fact we’re trying out some non-traditional approaches such as this interim discussion paper and town hall meetings to establish a more effective dialogue with Canadians.”  Details will be provided in advance of each meeting in each community.  Further Special Committee hearings will also take place in Ottawa later in June before the Committee writes its report.

The Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs is responsible for openly and objectively reviewing Canada's anti-drug legislation and policies on cannabis and is scheduled to present its report to the Senate in August 2002.  In particular, the Special Committee is examining Canada's current policies and international obligations, as well as strategies adopted by other countries.  The Committee on Illegal Drugs is chaired by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin with Senator Colin Kenny as deputy-chair.  Also serving on the Committee are Senators Tommy Banks, Shirley Maheu and Eileen Rossiter.  The Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs maintains an Internet web site at http://www.parl.gc.ca/illegal-drugs.asp

For further information:

David Newman Jean-Guy Desgagné
Phone: (613) 836-6039 Phone: (613) 791-7936
Mobile: (613) 795-1739 

Fax: (613) 836-5370

E-mail: dnewman@sympatico.ca

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