Maxed Out 

Have you heard? The war is over!

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The report recommended, among other things:

 creation of a National Advisor on Psychoactive Substances and Dependency within the Privy Council Office;

 calling a high-level conference of key stakeholders from the provinces, territories, municipalities and associations in 2003, to set goals and priorities for action on psychoactive substances over a five-year period;

 mandate the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse to ensure national co-ordination of research and reporting on psychoactive substances;

 adoption by the Government of Canada of an integrated policy on the risks and harmful effects of the whole range of psychoactive substances including prescribed medication, alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs;

 amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to create a criminal exemption scheme stipulating the conditions for obtaining licences as well as for producing and selling cannabis; criminal penalties for illegal trafficking and export; and the preservation of criminal penalties for all activities falling outside the scope of the exemption scheme;

 declare an amnesty for any person convicted of possession of cannabis under current or past legislation;

 provide new rules regarding eligibility, production and distribution with respect to cannabis for therapeutic purposes;

 amend the Criminal Code to lower permitted alcohol levels to 40 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, in the presence of other drugs, especially, but not exclusively cannabis.

Key to the senators' report is the simple realization that the war on drugs is over - drugs won. Their framework for getting on with our lives deserves consideration.

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