Canada Announces Today They Will Consider Marijuana Decriminalization

Press Release May 26, 2003
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 212-613-8026 or Shayna Samuels at 646-523-6961

“There are two sides in the marijuana policy debate — the Bush Administration and the conclusive evidence that prohibition causes more harm than good,” said the Drug Policy Alliance’s executive director, Ethan Nadelmann. “Canada is declaring its side.”

“If locking people up solved the drug problem, the U.S. would be nearly drug-free,” said Nadelmann. “Unfortunately, we have half a million people behind bars for drug offenses, and 90% of high school seniors still find marijuana easy to get. Canada is right to look elsewhere for a model.”

“The United States has lost even its staunchest allies when it comes to the war on marijuana,” said Nadelmann. “Canada will join England, Australia and the majority of the advanced, industrialized world by choosing decriminalization.”

“Canada should be careful not to offset the benefits of marijuana decriminalization by increasing penalties for small growers,” said Nadelmann. “History shows this approach only pushes business into the hands of organized crime, and encourages the production of more potent and dangerous drugs like methamphetamine.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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