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Delay marijuana reform: provinces

Cauchon pushed to drop bill, address more pressing needs

By Janice Tibbetts

Provincial justice ministers say they will lobby their federal counterpart, Martin Cauchon, to abandon his controversial bill to decriminalize marijuana in favour of more pressing justice initiatives that have been in the works for years.

The provinces will make their unified pitch this week as Mr. Cauchon tries to convince them to buy into the federal marijuana bill, which he hopes will pass in Parliament this fall before Prime Minister Jean Chrétien retires.

“If you only have so much time, don’t use it on decriminalizing marijuana when there’s a lot of other more important, pressing issues to deal with,” said Alberta Justice Minister Dave Hancock, summing up the sentiment of the provinces.

Mr. Cauchon has put the item on the agenda when he meets with his provincial counterparts tomorrow and Wednesday in his home town of La Malbaie, Que.

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