VANCOUVER - Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has told media in Vancouver that the government is still assessing whether to allow police to ticket people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of pursuing charges.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with law-enforcement experts, MacKay says that if the government were to introduce looser pot laws, that would have to happen within the next six months because of the large number of bills before Parliament.
He says his staff have been looking at other jurisdictions, including in the U.S., to see whether ticketing for pot possession is an effective option for police.
Canada's police chiefs have long called for such a move, and MacKay has already said the government was taking that into consideration.
But he stressed that the government remains opposed to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, though Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau support legalization.
Currently, anyone convicted of possessing small amounts of pot can be jailed for up to five years, and first-time offenders can face fines of up to $1,000 or as much as six months in jail.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly reported the minister was speaking to law-enforcement experts