Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jul 2007
Source: Sackville Tribune-Post (CN NK)
Copyright: 2007 The Sackville Tribune-Post Ltd.
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


The numbers don't paint a clear picture of marijuana use in this 
country, but they're enough to make people sit up and take notice at least.

The UN's 2007 World Drug Report found 16.8 per cent of Canadians 
between the ages of 15 and 64 used pot in 2004 -- the highest rate 
among developed nations. By comparison, 12.6 per cent of American 
respondents said they have tried pot. Britain (8.7), France (8.6), 
Germany (6.9), and especially Japan (0.1) all reported much lower 
rates than Canada.

The stats don't tell us how many of those who admitted using pot use 
it regularly, occasionally or just rarely. But it does suggest that 
Canadians are relatively open about acknowledging the substance as 
relatively common and not the stuff of back alleys.

News of the higher-than-average use has people again talking about 
the relative illegality.

Senator Larry Campbell says too much time and effort is being wasted 
with criminal prosecutions for minor amounts of the drug while 
organized crime reaps massive profits from the drug's cultivation. 
Treat it like alcohol with production controlled and sales regulated, 
the senator said, and "tax the hell out of it."

In contrast to an apparently increasing acceptance are numbers 
speaking of arrests. They went down a couple of years ago when the 
Liberals introduced a bill to decriminalize small amounts. The 
Tories, when they came to power, scrapped the proposed legislation 
and following that, arrests for possession again spiked.

People might well ask whether said arrests are saving people from 
themselves or just sapping police energies that could be used better elsewhere.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom