On March 16, 2001, the Senate re-established the Special Senate Committee on
Illegal Drugs. The Committee has resumed proceedings on April 23, 2001, in the context of
the other work undertaken by the 36th Parliament. Its mandate is to examine the Canadian
governments current laws, policies and international obligations, and the policies
adopted by other countries, with respect to cannabis.
The Special Committees proceedings will be an opportunity to instigate new
research into controlled substances, synthesize the data that is obtained, and convey
clear, objective and rigorous information to the people of Canada. We will also consider
and define the guiding principles that should underlie a national policy on drugs, and
especially on cannabis. The Committee expects to table its final report to the Senate in
In the course of its hearings, the Committee will hear expert witnesses from the
universities, the legal system, governments, police forces, and Canadian and international
non-governmental organizations. This first phase of the proceedings will be followed in
the spring of 2002 by a second phase, during which the Committee wants to hear from
ordinary Canadians. Its members will tour the country and meet with the general public, in
order to discuss the Committees findings with them openly, objectively and
My colleagues on the Committee and I myself as the Committee Chair recognize the
importance and relevance of the mandate that the Senate has entrusted to us. Canadian
society is entitled to a public debate that is carried out with all the necessary rigour.
The Senate, as a public institution, is committed to meeting this challenge in the
interest of all Canadians.
The Committee wants to maintain a dialogue with all interested parties. Our hearings
will be broadcast on the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) and on this Web site. In
return, you can send us your questions and comments by any of the usual means of
Thank you for your interest in the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs.