Liberal Health Promotion Critic Keith Martin Introduces Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

Liberal Health Promotion Critic MP Keith Martin will introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana.Liberal Health Promotion Critic MP Keith Martin will introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana. Tomorrow, Liberal Health Promotion Critic MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Dr. Keith Martin, will stand in the Canadian House of Commons to introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana.

“The “war on drugs” approach, characterized by zero tolerance, has been a complete failure. It has not reduced the rate of violent crime or drug use, nor has it saved money or lives. To realize meaningful change on our city streets, we must decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot. This will cause drug abuse to be addressed in the public health system, rather than through the courts. It will sever the connection between organized crime and drug users. This bill is bad news for criminal gangs because it would collapse of the demand for drug products,” said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin has worked as a doctor in detox programs and has seen firsthand the effectiveness of harm reduction structures such as decriminalization and drug substitution programs. His Private Member’s Bill would introduce fines for the possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana instead of criminal charges.

Nationwide studies and House Committees have found that federal drug and crime policies are not working to reduce drug trafficking and they overwhelmingly point to this course of action. Drugs and drug trafficking would still be illegal, but drug users would be brought into the public health system instead of being tried in court and sent to jail, where users often come out dependant on more serious drugs. Additionally, the monies now allocated to law enforcement for possession of small amounts could be redirected to youth awareness programs and public policies that discourage drug use.

“In the medical profession our first principle is ‘do no harm’. We are actually doing terrible harm if we continue to address substance abuse uniquely as a criminal issue from the federal level. The blinders have to come off; we have to take a medical perspective if we are going to turn this thing around.”

Dr. Keith Martin is the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca and the Health Promotion Critic for the Liberal Party. He is a physician who worked in detox, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers for 14 years.

For more information:
Office of Dr. Keith Martin
[email protected]



  1. puff_tuff on

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Martin pushes softer pot law

    By Katie DeRosa
    Victoria Times Colonist

    Keith Martin wants the federal government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP will submit a private member’s bill in the House of Commons today that recommends fines instead of criminal charges for anyone with less than 30 grams of marijuana or two marijuana plants.

    Decriminalizing simple possession will sever ties between casual drug users and organized crime, Martin said in an interview yesterday. “If a person is growing a couple of their own plants, they won’t have to go out and purchase it from illegal sources, which are usually linked to crime gangs and illegal grow-ops.”

    He pointed to the bloody gang struggle for control of the Lower Mainland’s drug trade as an example of the “abysmal failure” of the war on drugs.

    Martin has twice proposed similar private member’s bills — in 2002 and again in 2007 — but failed both times. What’s different now, Martin said, is the move to decriminalize possession of two marijuana plants, which would deter people from going to dealers to get their pot.

    The move would save hundreds of millions of dollars in police enforcement and court costs, said Martin, adding the money could instead be spent on substance-abuse-prevention programs.

    One drug-legalization advocate said the bill will do little to diminish the multi-billion-dollar illegal drug market. The only way to eliminate gang control of the black market is to legalize and regulate marijuana, said Philippe Lucas, a Victoria city councillor and executive director of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, a group that supports medical use of marijuana.

    “I’m supportive of the bill but I hope that it leads to dialogue about the harm prohibition is causing Canadians, exemplified by the gun violence we have seen in Toronto and Vancouver,” Lucas said.

    Though he admits private member’s bills virtually never pass, Martin said raising the issue will push his larger goal of making substance abuse a medical issue rather than a judicial one.

    Contact: [email protected]

  2. Anonymous on

    legalize it, dont decriminalize it ,if you decriminalize it the gangs are still selling it and killing each other legalize it then control it come wake up pls

  3. George Lenard on

    Although decriminalization will clear the court rooms in Canada of possession charges, and not that that is not a good thing. Statistically it will decrease the total amount of drug related occurrences on the police books. But it does little to separate the marijuana users from the man made addictions of cocaine and heroin and the derivatives thereof. Decriminalization will not sever the ties between organized crime and the drug users. What the politicians fail to except is the only way the deal with the war on drugs is to legalize marijuana. The fact very well may be that decriminalization of marijuana will make it easier for non-adults to procure marijuana. Here lies the problem. When you tell our youth how bad drugs are, including marijuana, you set that child up for a time that if by chance, they do try marijuana, and the reaction of the high is not in any way as bad as they have been taught, what is it for that child that has been misled to go on then and try the man made chemicals that have a totally different and much more severe addictive powers. Have you not in effort created the falsehood that because marijuana is not the brain damaging up your nose or in your veins drugs that cocaine and heroin are? For example the use of marijuana in Amsterdam by under 19 is a way down from 20 years ago. That is a stat that is not lying but the western politicians ignore it. Legalization is the only way to take organized crime out of the picture and control supply to our youth. Wake up Canada!

  4. Dispatchmouth on

    Ha Ha Ha… not funny.

  5. Brian Kerr on

    I sure hope this is not an April Fools joke.

    Because I wrote a letter to him.

  6. Anonymous on

    I dunno….I think it’s an april fool’s joke…
    A very bad one IMHO, would’ve been a hell of a good chance to change canadian laws….

  7. Anonymous on

    weed will still be illegal regardless. how will this stop drug trafficking? if anything demand will remain the same or go up. he wants to save time and money in the police system but all this will do is move ‘criminals’ to the health system which will strain it with people who will be told they have problems but don’t. same story, same bullshit. liberals are useless and the conservatives will just bring this bill down. we need the greens to step up and do something, otherwise nothing will ever change.

  8. Anonymous on

    The only thing the Liberals have to offer is the reserection of another dead bill. To be fair they are changing it a bit this time. Before you would be fined with having 15 grams or less, now it’s 30. How can this educated person make the assumption that fining people “would collapse of the demand for drug products”? That’s just as rediculous as prohibition. I think the people at need to create a letter generator for this guy.

  9. ren b. on

    finally someboby with common sense; since mmar is facing so much opposotion, and it is a way forward we now can agree on a sign of progress. if it comes to pass canada will see a new day in the fight against prohibition, which has being a failure… i have to say thanks in advance in hope that this bill will succeed…

  10. Anonymous on

    is this a joke? I can’t find this anywhere else on the web.