Pubdate: Wed, 06 Jul 2005
Source: Annex Guardian (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Regarding the marijuana decriminalization bill:

Now that the same-sex marriage issue has been settled (more or less), 
the Liberals will probably want to push forward with their 
alternative penalty legislation regarding marijuana, or as they keep 
erroneously calling it, "decriminalization".

The problems with this new legislation are many.

The fact the proposed fines are lower for youths than for adults 
suggests the Liberals think that it is OK for kids to use pot. Most 
Canadians think that cannabis should be regulated so that its use is 
restricted to adults.

Legalization and regulation would accomplish that; the Liberal's 
proposed legislation would actually make it easier for kids to access cannabis.

The proposed legislation would increase the penalty for growing to an 
astonishing 14 years. Rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, even 
incest will draw a lesser penalty.

Convicted schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka only got 12 years. This new 
sentencing policy will scare off the "mom and pop" growers and hand 
exclusive growing rights to those people who are rich, crazy, brave 
or heavily armed enough to take a risk that big (organized crime).

Canadians already spend about $2 billion annually in the War on 
Certain Drugs, on enforcement, courts, incarceration and corrections 
- - and we have nothing to show for it but a bigger and more dangerous 
black market than ever.

The Liberals want to spend even more taxpayers' dollars on this 
absurd and failing policy.

The Senate committee report on drugs from 2002 suggested the 
government fully legalize and regulate cannabis, generate billions in 
tax revenue and use police and correctional resources on more important issues.

The Fraser Institute crunched the numbers and estimated our domestic 
cannabis market could raise $3 billion annually in tax revenue.

The tax revenue from this market could save our ailing beef farmers, 
boost our military and increase healthcare and educational funding.

In the spring of 2003, the law prohibiting the possession of cannabis 
was found by an Ontario Superior Court Judge to be "of no force and effect."

This was later overturned on appeal, but in Canada, a law must be 
legislated back into existence, it cannot be resurrected by another court.

As a result, the police are still enforcing laws that technically 
don't really exist any more.

Health Canada's Medical Marijuana Access program recently released 
its new regulations and they still failed to comply with a number of 
court orders.

This also puts the laws prohibiting cannabis on shaky ground.

By not fully legalizing and regulating the cannabis market, our 
government is knowingly subsidizing organized crime to the tune of 
about $10 billion, wasting valuable police resources, making pot 
easier for kids to access than either tobacco or alcohol, wasting 
billions annually in taxpayers' funds, withholding billions more in 
potential annual tax revenue, withholding a valuable source of 
medicine from sick and dying Canadians and endangering every citizen 
in the country.

It leads me to wonder just which side of the law they are really on.

Russell Barth

Educators For Sensible Drug Policy

Via e-mail from Ottawa 
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MAP posted-by: Beth