Pubdate: Fri, 02 Apr 2004
Source: Orillia Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Ken Kinnear
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Re: Pot grow-ops.

Organized crime. Ruined buildings. Dangerous chemicals. Stolen electricity.
Police cannot keep up. Increased insurance rates, millions upon millions of
tax dollars spent on police, customs officials and the legal system.

Just when are we going to get serious about tackling this "absolute
epidemic" of marijuana-growing operations? And how? Allocating more police
and other resources towards "fighting" grow houses doesn't seem likely to
stem the tide.

Allowing the government to regulate marijuana, to sell (and tax?) it, serves
to condone or legitimize its use, a move which is unlikely to gain
widespread public acceptance. Given our increasingly health-conscious
society, many people would be left wondering "why are we creating a new

Decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, while at the
same time increasing penalties for growing or distribution, won't,
unfortunately, solve the problem either. It just shifts the futile 'war on
drugs' to another front, keeping the expensive and draining game of "cops
and robbers" going.

What's the answer? I'm no expert, but I'll hazard a guess. Decriminalize not
only the possession, but the growing of marijuana.

Give offenders a fine, perhaps substance-abuse counselling, but no other
criminal sanction on record.

It's the most reasonable, least harmful, least extreme approach. A middle of
the road, Canadian-made solution. If the Americans adopted this position,
Canadian growing operations would disappear, almost overnight.

But until they do, Canadians are held captive. If we relax marijuana laws,
it would only serve to increase the number of Canadian grow houses, not
decrease them, given the U.S. demand. It would be prohibition all over

Unfortunately, assuming the Americans aren't yet ready to raise the white
flag, decriminalization in Canada, to be followed shortly by prohibition,
part deux, if not without it's own problems, seems to me to be the only,
better solution than the current chaos.

Ken Kinnear 

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