Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jul 2005
Source: Rocky View Weekly (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Tall Taylor Publishing Ltd
Author: Russell Barth


Dear Editor:

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 that the
proposed fines are lower for youths than for adults suggests that the
Liberals think that it is okay for kids to use pot. Most Canadians
think that cannabis should be regulated so that it's 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. Karla Homolka only got 12 years,
and she will be free soon. This new sentencing policy will scare off
the "mom `n 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 in the history of Canada. The Liberals want to
spend even more taxpayer's 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
their new regulations, and they still failed to comply with a number
of court orders. This also puts the laws prohibiting cannabis on very
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

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