NORML Canada director to speak on 'Reform of Marijuana Laws'

Friday, January 23, 2009


Written by Scott Gilbert

On February 5th the CSA and the Medical Cannabis Club of Guelph are partnering to host a forum on the reform of marijuana laws. Below is the event information contained in the press release.

Marc-Boris St-Maurice, Executive Director of NORML Canada (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), Director of the Montreal and Quebec City Compassion Centers is embarking on a national fact-finding tour to introduce and expand upon the principles behind a “National Resolution for the Legalization of Marijuana” and the establishment of a “National Marijuana Advisory Council”.

At each stop University faculty, students, media, local activists and concerned public will be joining Marc-Boris for a rare insider’s look at the real world of compassionate activism and discuss the four pillars of the “National Resolution for the Legalization of Marijuana”:

· Economic Development

· Health and Medicine

· Social Justice

· Policy Implementation

This two-hour Resolution Forum will introduce you to behind-the-scenes footage of the Montreal and Quebec City Cannabis dispensaries, detailed footage and commentary by expert cultivators on each of the stages of growing, harvesting and curing of medical marijuana, a behind-the-scenes introduction to legendary personalities of the world Medical Marijuana activism and their insight into the history of prohibition and how to end it, as well as various forms of medicinal applications and poignant patient stories.

The cooperative forum will draw heavily on the participation of faculty from various universities to garner as much input as possible in laying the groundwork for this resolution and, while gathering evidence, recruiting support and advisory expertise for a “National Marijuana Advisory Council” that will be able to bridge the perceived divides between players that represent historical positions under each of the four pillars of economic development, health, social justice and policy.

Economic Development

The economy is our most unifying principle. Simply put, we can no longer afford cannabis prohibition and that cold, hard fact significantly impacts all of these pillars. The federal government currently spends close to 500 million dollars annually enforcing cannabis prohibition. This does not take into account other costs on municipal and provincial judicial systems, court time, legal fees in addition to lost revenues in the form of tax potential from the billions generated annually by Canada's cannabis industry.

Health and Medicine

A shortage of trained professionals, overcrowded hospitals and long waiting lists are just part of the sad litany that has become Canada's health-care system. Thousands of Canadians are turning to alternative medicines for symptomatic relief, and yet, despite scientific evidence, numerous court rulings and decades of empty promises, legitimate access to medical marijuana remains difficult at best. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians could benefit from this, one of humankind's oldest medicines, but only a few thousand have been granted Health Canada licenses for medical marijuana.

Social Justice

Prohibition creates criminals. Our cannabis laws are based, not on science or social need, but on arbitrary moral judgment, including racism and class issues. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have been branded with criminal records for a practice so widespread, that over 50% of our adult population admit having used it. Educations have been interrupted, futures have been lost, lives have been ruined and credibility of our judicial system has been undermined for yet another generation. To just say “no” is not enough when 1.5 million Canadians have criminal records for simple possession.

Policy Implementation

Our cannabis laws must change. Then what? The mechanics of enacting such a policy change will task the intellect and resources of all levels of government. It is therefore incumbent on those of us who are the strongest advocates of cannabis reform to advise and help provide governments with the necessary tools. Drawing on the previous works of both the LeDain Commission and the later Canadian Senate Commission chaired by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, we seek reasonable, reliable input on the ways and means of implementing the restoration of legitimacy to cannabis in Canada.

You are invited to join Marc-Boris in this cooperative forum and express your views, make your contribution and help define the issues that will lead to the end Marijuana prohibition.

Faculty or graduate students who wish to be on the Resolution Forum panel should contact Thomas Lefebvre at 514-582-2390.

Media contact Thomas Lefebvre at 514-582-2390.

Guelph Visit -- Thursday February 5 2009 , 7-9pm
University Centre Room 103
University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario
Info Call: 519-341-0700

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