Pubdate: Fri, 29 Jul 2005
Source: Beach-Riverdale Mirror (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Beach-Riverdale Mirror
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Regarding the marijuana decriminalization bill.

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

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.

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.

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' 
money, 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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MAP posted-by: Beth