Pubdate: Sat, 14 Aug 2010
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Bandurka
Author: Robert Bandurka


Mixed in with the Harper government's list of crimes now considered
serious is "trafficking in any quantity of cannabis." Selling of a
couple of ounces of marijuana will bring a minimum sentences of five

Such a pot penalty under a law and order agenda makes little sense.
Alcohol kills more people in a weekend than pot does in a decade. We
should incarcerate killers by banning alcohol, not marijuana. But
prohibition was tried 100 years ago and we ended up with more
criminals and less security. Will increased penalties for pot be any

The logic escapes me. Stephen Harper claims to be smart, and is an
economist to boot.

The average annual cost to maintain an inmate is above $250,000,
according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's 2008-09 report.

Considering that much crime is a result of poverty, and education
improves a person's earning potential, common sense suggests an
investment in schools would pay bigger dividends.

So here is a bold suggestion. Give one pot seller a "get out of jail
free" card and invest that money in a school. Society will not notice
(or suffer) an extra pothead wandering the streets, but our children
and society will appreciate the better educated population.

Better yet, legalize marijuana and create a new cash crop for farmers
and tax the stuff. But Harper knows best, right?

The new measures were passed by an order in council, not debated in

The poorest schools and the greatest number of incarcerated
individuals are aboriginal. There is a correlation.

Robert Bandurka

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