A judge in Gatineau, Quebec has imposed a fine of $1.30, “one dollar fine and 30 cents surcharge”, to an Outaouais man arrested for possession of 30 pot plants, adding that he is tired of having to deal with Canada’s “antiquated and ridiculous” marijuana laws.
The prosecution had demanded a sentence of 90 days detention and a $250 fine for the accused, reports La Presse.
Judge Pierre Chevalier added that, in light of the fact that half of Canadians had used pot, and not only for medicinal use, it was a safe bet that many of the lawyers, judges and court officials in the court system had already used marijuana themselves, with no legal consequences.
The accused was Mario Larouche, a 46-year-old man suffering from the physical aftereffects of a road accident, had tried unsuccessfully in the past to apply for a medical marijuana prescription.
The judge appeared exasperated not only at having his and the court’s time wasted, but also decided to comment on the overall hypocrisy inherent in a system that’s simultaneously tough on crime and blind to the fact of widespread use.
“If the accused had met with a responsible doctor, he would probably now have his prescription,” said Judge Chevalier. “He wouldn’t be in front of this tribunal today. The gentleman is caught up in a completely mixed up system that does not allow access to a natural medicine going back centuries, or millennia.”
Picking up on signals sent by the Liberal government, which intends to legalize marijuana and tax the proceeds, Judge Chevalier continued, “And I think that society is becoming less naive on this subject, or at least the politicians are. We’ve got one now with a responsible attitude who isn’t afraid to go in that direction,” presumably referring to Prime Minister Trudeau.
“We have been stagnating in Canada, because politically people probably weren’t ready for the laws to evolve on this,” added Chevalier. “Irresponsible politicians have simply let these things rot because they thought it would lose them votes.”
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“We’re living in a society where we can accuse people of consumption and possession of marijuana, even though at least half of the population has already done it themselves,” said Chevalier. “These laws are antiquated and ridiculous. When we’re dealing with laws that dictate that half of Canada should have a criminal record…”
The judge let the remainder of that phrase hang in the air before continuing.
“And probably most crown and defense attorneys, and maybe judges, but I won’t comment on that. So I think it’s time we look on these things more leniently.”
While possession of marijuana remains a crime in Canada, Gatineau is one of many hotspots for a nascent legal industry in Canada.
Ex-Liberal Justice Minister, and Health Minister, Allan Rock, currently president of the University of Ottawa, is a backer of Gatineau-based RockGarden Medicinals Inc., a medical marijuana company that is waiting for a permit from the federal government to begin operations.