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Canada  

Looser pot laws may be on horizon

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says draft legislation that would loosen federal marijuana laws is under "serious consideration."

MacKay says the Conservatives are looking at whether to allow police officers to issue a ticket to anyone caught with small amounts of pot, rather than laying criminal charges.

He says the Justice Department will look into the issue and possibly present a draft bill, although any policy shift would stop short of decriminalizing marijuana.

Currently, under the Criminal Code, anyone convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can be jailed for up to five years, while first-time offenders can face fines up to $1,000 or six months in jail.

Canadian police chiefs have long called for laws that would ticket people for pot possession instead of laying charges.

MacKay made the comments today following a weekend meeting with Vancouver's police chief, who supports that approach, as well as other law enforcement officials.

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