Canada Toughens Pot Laws, Two U.S. States Loosen Up

The same day that voters in two U.S. states approved the legalization of marijuana, the Harper government in Ottawa was bringing into force tough new mandatory penalties for pot.

The states of Washington and Colorado both voted in favour of ballot-box propositions Tuesday that remove criminal penalties for the possession and sale of recreational marijuana, while a similar provision in Oregon was defeated.

Tuesday was also the day that drug measures in the Conservative government’s omnibus Safe Streets and Communities Act, passed last spring, came into full force.

Canada’s new law provides a mandatory six-month jail term for growing as few as six marijuana plants, twice the mandatory minimum for luring a child to watch pornography or exposing oneself on a playground.

“Today our message is clear that if you are in the business of producing, importing or exporting of drugs, you’ll now face jail time,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a release Tuesday, before U.S. polls closed.

By day’s end, Colorado had voted to permit adults over 21 to grow up to six pot plants in private, and Washington had voted to permit state-licensed growers to sell adult individuals up to an ounce of marijuana at a time.

Nicholson was not available Wednesday to comment on the American state votes but his spokeswoman reiterated in an email that “our government does not support the decriminalization or the legalization of marijuana.”

– Read the rest of the article at Toronto Star.