Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Jasper Booster (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 The Jasper Booster
Author: Jason Bardyla


Jasper Booster - Once again Mr. Merrifield has provided a narrow view of a 
monstrous problem and left out vital information to help ensure his 
perspective is seen as the best way.

His problem with the decriminalization of possession of marijuana is 
certainly not new but the end result is that the public wants more done 
about the drug problem and to do more, you need to free up financial 
resources and manpower.

The first step in achieving this is decriminalization.

One of the largest wastes of taxpayer dollars and police manpower is on 
trails for individuals who possess small amounts of marijuana, most of 
which end up in small fines anyway.

With this new policy, police can issue fines for possession, achieving a 
similar result from the previous scenario the only loss being that of a 
criminal record.

Does this send a message that it is okay to use drugs? Only to the 
uninformed who are using drugs to begin with. Those not using drugs now 
will not suddenly start just because you won't get a record for possession, 
especially since it is still criminal to sell it, buy it and consume it.

Mr. Merrifield's suggestion of larger fines sets back the system even 
further and shows how out of touch he is. Does he honestly believe that any 
substance abuser will pay the larger fines when many won't pay the current 
smaller ones?

They would do the jail time as it is easier for them to deal with (less 
expensive) and this creates multiple court appearances and again wastes 
officer time and taxpayer money.

Fighting the drug trade is not a small or inexpensive effort and Mr. 
Merrifield's ideas of increasing the bog down in the courts will only set 
back the law's efforts at catching dealers, the real source of the problem.

Sometimes, to take a large step forward we must take what seems like a 
small step backwards.

Jason Bardyla

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