Toronto police no longer laying charges for simple possession of marijuana
Thursday, June 05, 2003
TORONTO (CP) - Toronto police will no longer lay charges for simple possession of marijuana until the law is clarified by either the courts or the federal government.
"Police .?.?. will not lay charges of simple possession," Chief Julian Fantino said Thursday in a release. "Rather, they will seize the marijuana and fully document the incident with a view to laying a charge following clarification of the law by the Court of Appeal or Parliament."
Fantino said recent court decisions and proposed federal legislation calling for decriminalization of small amounts of the drug have left police officers "in a position of uncertainty to whether simple possession of marijuana is an offence at all."
The proposed legislation, introduced last week, would continue to make possession of marijuana illegal. However, someone caught with less than 15 grams would be fined instead of receiving a criminal record.
Prior to the Liberals tabling the bill, a Windsor judge ruled that possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana is no longer against the law in Ontario.
On May 16, Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin upheld an Ontario Court decision to quash a charge against a youth for possession, ruling that the existing law is no longer valid.
As a result, Fantino said officers have been instructed to "exercise their discretion regarding situations which involve simple possession of marijuana."
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