Pubdate: Sat, 13 Feb 2016
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Mark Conlin
Page: A9


As a retired Canadian voter, I am quickly growing exasperated with 
how our various levels of government are dealing with the inevitable 
legalization of cannabis use in our country.

No, it's not the only issue that needs addressing. However, it is one 
that has the consensus of the majority of Canadians.

That should make it easier to proceed, yet, the arrests continue. 
Especially in Western Canada, where our resource industries are 
struggling, the economic benefits, potential job creation and tax 
revenues of cannabis legalization remain unrealized while our 
politicians seem to be oblivious as to how to proceed.

So, who are the politicians - often, prohibitionists themselves - 
seeking guidance from, in coming up with a workable system? To this 
point, it seems that they're asking "public health and safety" 
representatives. Those would be police and medical associations. 
Hmmm? The same ones that have championed prohibition for the past 90 
years? Because their record on this matter has been so successful, 
I'm guessing.

Our politicians are, also, being lobbied by those large medical 
marijuana companies - owned by millionaires (often, former 
politicians) - that sell by mail order. These are those legal 
corporations set up under the Harper government. These 
free-enterprising individuals want the police to step up their raids 
on medical dispensaries and compassion clubs that have always been, 
and remain, the overwhelming favourite method for patients to access 
their cannabis. Use the police to knock off the competition? Sure seems so.

What really gets me, though, is how the whole matter is being dealt 
with by both the politicians and media.

They seem to be portraying themselves as, grudgingly, cutting 
marijuana users a favour, rather than responding to the clear 
majority will of Canadian citizens.

That, in itself, should have sent a strong enough message as to 
implement a moratorium on dispensary raids and personal possession 
arrests. The argument that "the law is still the law," in this 
instance, is just bureaucratic nonsense.

Here's the reality check. There is no successful version of regulated 
marijuana legalization that does not include dispensaries/compassion clubs.

There is no successful version of regulated marijuana legalization 
that does not include recognition of patient and/or recreational users needs.

You see, we don't need a new system. Threats of penalty, clearly, 
won't work. Close the dispensaries and the black market will just 
grow. If this is to work, those charged with making these decisions 
had better stop ignoring us. Without our buy-in, this process is dead 
in the water.

Mark Conlin, West Kelowna
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom