Pubdate: Thu, 15 Aug 2013
Source: Parksville Qualicum Beach News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Black Press
Author: Neil Horner


Believe me, if I thought for a second that prohibition worked I would 
be the first to call for an outright ban, enforced by the full weight 
of the law.

I would campaign for zero tolerance and mandatory minimum sentences. 
I would contribute money to the cause and even stand on a street 
corner with a tambourine and a bullhorn if that's what it took to get 
legislation passed.

Unfortunately, prohibition doesn't work and so I'm afraid we're going 
to have our ears bleed to the shrill squawk of the bagpipes for the 
foreseeable future.

That's too bad, because it seems at just about every event someone 
drags out the bagpipes and starts honking away as if the pipes were 
some kind of symbol of Canada - which they're not.

They're a joke the Irish played on the Scottish that the Scottish 
never got. The only truly Canadian instrument I can think of might be 
the spoons.

But if we banned the pipes, like in Prohibition days, it would only 
result in overcrowded jails and shattered lives.

Bagpipe prices would go through the roof in the underground economy 
and it wouldn't be long before the entire bagpipe, sporran and kilt 
trade was in the hands of organized crime.

Like the gin joints and speakeasys of the earlier prohibition, 
illicit, sound-proof bag-inns would sprout up like mushrooms as 
bagpipes became cool.

Hollywood stars would be forced into musical rehab after being caught 
at the pipes and sure enough they would break their parole for just 
one chorus of Scotland the Brave - all fodder for the tabloids.

Eventually the toll on society would be obvious to everyone and a 
counter-movement to legalize or at least decriminalize bagpipes would 
begin to gain ground. Eventually there would be a breakthrough in one 
jurisdiction or other - probably B.C. - and compromise legislation 
that allowed bagpipes only at the Legion would be passed.

That would just be the tip of the iceberg and it wouldn't be long 
before all Canadians would once again have the right to grind their 
teeth in time to the agony bags any time they liked - but not within 
three metres of any doorway.

"What were we thinking?" they would ask. "That was a stupid law and 
just look at the damage it's done."

That's how I feel about the current marijuana prohibition in Canada. 
It's a bad law that has done - and continues to do - untold damage to 
Canadian society.

Marijuana prohibition doesn't work. It's as simple as that and 
because of this I'm fully supporting Dana Larsen's referendum 
campaign to decriminalize it.

Elections B.C. has approved the Sensible Policing Act, a law which 
would effectively decriminalize marijuana possession in the province, 
as valid legislation and suitable for a referendum. The 90-day 
signature-gathering period begins on Sept. 9.

If the campaign can collect signatures from 10 per cent of the 
registered voters in each electoral district, the Sensible Policing 
Act will be put to a referendum in 2014.

The measure would instruct all police in B.C. to spend no time or 
resources on searches or arrests for marijuana possession. It would 
also treat a minor in possession of marijuana as if it were alcohol.

The act formally calls upon the federal government to repeal 
marijuana prohibition, or give B.C. an exemption to marijuana 
prohibition and it would create a provincial commission to come up 
with the laws and rules needed to legally regulate marijuana 
cultivation and sale.

I am not in a position to head up the local campaign, and I'm not 
ready for the tambourine and bullhorn routine, but I would be happy 
to staff a signature booth for a shift or two.

Pass the referendum and I'll tell you what ... I'll shut up about the 
agony bags.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom