Liberals called for the decriminalization marijuana at their recent convention in Ottawa. Those who think the latter is a shocking revelation should know that some Grits have been pushing this at least since Irwin Cotler was justice minister back in 2003.
Nevertheless, at the risk of hurting my left wing street cred, the point remains a good one. Why can’t this country do what so many others in the civilized world (i.e. California, Belgium, Holland, etc.) have done and stop this senseless and costly persecution of otherwise law abiding and tax-paying citizens for indulging in the odd puff of mother nature’s finest?
Allow me to illustrate my personal crackpot conspiracy theory in the matter, by way of an analogy with the struggle of Canadian women for the right to choose an abortion. You see, when Dr. Morgentaler started performing abortions back in the 60s, the cops were aware of what was going on at his clinic and yet more or less turned a blind eye to his practice, despite abortions clearly being illegal under Canada’s criminal code. It was only after the US government (allegedly because US women were coming to his private clinic in the East End of Montreal) pressured the Canadian government and, in turn, Ottawa leaned hard on the provincial government, that cops decided to shut him down. Shortly thereafter, Montreal police conducted their first raid of Morgentaler’s clinic and charged him with breaking the law.
I hear you asking, where the hell is he going with this? The connection to the legalization of marijuana debate in Canada is that the Harper government seems to basically be kowtowing to the US so called “war on drugs” on this, in much the same way that previous Canadian governments did in the Morgentaler affair.
The Americans have never been happy about Canada’s relatively lax drug laws and the fact that much of its harvest ends up being smuggled across the longest unprotected border in the world. Legalization advocate and former editor of Cannabis culture Marc Emery was ordered extradited in 2010 by Justice Minister Nicholson in May of last year after US authorities charged him with drug trafficking for selling cannabis seeds by mail (he is currently serving a five year sentence at a federal prison in the US).
Now we have Bill C-10, the new crime bill (for more info see ItCouldGetWorse) with its insanely draconian anti-drug measures. Some of which will force judges to impose prison sentences, which will be mandatory, for people convicted of possession of relatively small amounts of marijuana plants. If this bill makes through the Senate, as expected, it could have severe repercussions both in terms of costs to the criminal justice system as well as Canada’s reputation for being a relatively progressive alternative to America’s increasingly futile “war on drugs.”
Will somebody in the government please write a memo to Harper bringing to his attention the following eye-opening statistics: according to one poll taken recently in Canada, 66% of hosers support either the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana in this country. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Steve!