Pubdate: Fri, 17 Feb 2012
Source: Campbell River Mirror (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Campbell River Mirror
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


With former attorneys general, ex-municipal mayors and a host of 
medical health officers all advocating for the legalization of 
marijuana, the public should start to wonder what politicians are 
smoking to make inaction seem like the right decision.

Former B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant and his colleagues are the 
latest to lobby the province for reforms to its marijuana laws by 
ending prohibition on B.C.'s unofficial cash crop. Like prohibition 
of alcohol during the Great Depression made millionaires out of 
bootleggers and gangsters, marijuana laws financially benefit both 
organized crime and petty criminals, while punishing taxpaying, 
law-abiding citizens for inhaling in the privacy of their homes. The 
framework for restriction, regulation and taxation of marijuana 
exists, through our extensive alcohol and tobacco legislation. 
Impairment laws currently apply to marijuana.

The federal Conservative government wants to increase the minimum 
penalty for pot offences, yet B.C.'s court system faces such a 
backlog that the vast majority of those charges would be dismissed 
before ever reaching court. Legalizing - and regulating - marijuana 
would ease that court burden, erasing minor drug possession charges 
to free up court time for serious offences, such as drunk driving. It 
would also impact the international drug trade, which sees harder 
drugs cross the border in exchange for B.C. marijuana. Where the face 
of the argument for legalization was once a grungy, hippie-ish fellow 
sparking a spliff, the movement now has top medical professionals, 
former municipal leaders and provincial ministers cutting through the 
haze with a clean image and a clear-cut case. B.C. has the 
opportunity to show leadership on a national scale by taking the 
profits of crime and returning it to society.
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