Pubdate: Wed, 09 Oct 2013
Source: Sooke News Mirror (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Sooke News Mirror
Author: Tom Fletcher
Column: B.C. Views


I won't be signing the "Sensible B.C." petition to demand a
provincewide referendum on marijuana enforcement. You shouldn't
either, and here are a few reasons why.

Let me start by saying I've been calling for legalization and
regulation of pot for 20 years, to conserve police resources and
reduce violent crime. Our war on drugs is a failure even for heroin
and cocaine, and marijuana is obviously much easier to produce.

But the current effort led by Dana Larsen, B.C.'s clown prince of pot,
is not only misguided, it's dangerous.

The petition does not propose legalization. It seeks to impose a
provincial law that would stop B.C. police from using any resources
for simple possession charges. This would create a loophole in the
federal drug law.

So what would that do? It would protect otherwise innocent customers
of the current illegal marijuana trade, while leaving the criminal
distribution business in place.

For a closer look at that, I recommend reports from the Surrey Six
murder trial now underway, or the upcoming case against three accused
assassins of Red Scorpion gangster Jonathan Bacon in Kelowna.

Larsen's loony law would tie police hands when they are trying to hold
someone on a lesser charge while they search for evidence of something
nastier. This is a source of many simple possession charges today.

Police chiefs have a different idea, asking for the option of treating
simple possession as a ticket offence to keep the court time to a minimum.

Both of these notions have the same obvious flaws. They don't deal
with sales to minors and they divert no revenue to government, leaving
most of that in the hands of criminal dealers who buy cocaine, guns
and fancy cars.

Colorado and Washington have gone the legalization route, so far
without interference from their federal government. These states need
money, and they don't need more crime or ill-considered hippy gesture

Meanwhile in Ottawa, Health Canada is trying to convert a poorly
regulated mess of small-scale medical marijuana licences to a
free-market system of commercial producers.

Local politicians tore a strip off Health Canada officials at their
recent convention, after years of warnings that federal licences were
scattered at unknown locations, often used as fronts for larger grow-ops.

Mission Coun. Dave Hensman predicted that when a grower gets a letter
cancelling his licence, he's more likely to roll up a big joint with
it than to shut down. Burnaby Coun. Nick Volkow suggested the response
would echo an old Cheech and Chong routine: "Dave's not here, man."

Here's another reason not to support Larsen: the conduct of his organizers.

One fellow set up a petition table at, of all places, the Terry Fox
Hometown Run in Port Coquitlam. After scrawling "pot cures cancer" on
the table, he proceeded to interrupt speeches by cancer survivors and
the run itself by yelling the same false slogan.

You can imagine how people with terminal cancer and their loved ones
would react. Some would know that marijuana may alleviate side effects
of chemotherapy, just as it can ease suffering for some multiple
sclerosis patients. But the suggestion of a cure is as cruel as it is

Larsen's "cannibus" has been rolling around B.C., reaping uncritical
media coverage. It even blundered into the recent Walk for
Reconciliation in Vancouver, an event to mark the end of federal
hearings into the effects of residential schools on aboriginal children.

I wouldn't support the Larsen bunch for anything, unless it involved
them looking for jobs. Just say no.
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