Pubdate: Fri, 12 Oct 2012
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Penticton Western
Author: Scott Robinson


As noble as it sounds that the UBCM wants to fight what the mayor of 
Metchosin calls the "enormous costs of enforcing a thoroughly 
discredited policy," I'm afraid it has more to do with fighting 
organized crime for the $2.7 billion in annual cannabis revenue than 
it does fighting organized crime.

The Canadian justice system is a $13 billion a year industry (that 
doesn't include the money spent on defence lawyers), and of that $13 
billion, only $200 million is spent on police, courts and corrections 
costs involving marijuana. If the UBCM is really concerned with 
enforcement costs, a good place to start would be the 16 per cent of 
all guilty cases in Canada that involve drinking and driving, most of 
which could easily be handled in traffic court.

I agree we need a more rational approach toward cannabis - licensing 
users works for me - but the UBCM's resolution to decriminalize 
marijuana isn't motivated by some noble attempt to stand up for 
efficiency and public safety, it's just the latest funding formula 
that conveniently preserves government's prerogative for pandering 
legislation. What we need is a definition of crime that prevents the 
production of a later-to-be-discredited policy, not a money grab that 
discredits the politicians who make the policy.

(The source for the $13 billion figure is the University of Ottawa, 
$200 million figure the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 16 per 
cent figure Maclean's Sept. 10, 2012 edition.)

Scott Robinson

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