Pubdate: Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Source: Sundre Round Up (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Sundre Round Up Publishing Ltd.
Author: Simon Ducatel


Lives with potential continue to be ruined over charges of mere 
possession of a substance the federal government is working to 
regulate and legalize

The Liberal government does not seem to be taking too seriously its 
promise to regulate and legalize marijuana.

Sure, the federal party is looking at ways to reform obsolete and 
arguably draconian drug laws. After all, a permanent criminal record 
and jail time is rather heavy handed for a non-violent act and use of 
a substance that indigenous cultures around the world have used for millennia.

But as authorities are still throwing the proverbial book at 
Canadians whose only "crime" was being in possession of a substance 
that the government is working to legalize, lives continue to be ruined.

This might not seem like a serious issue to some voters, many of whom 
were outright dismissive about it before, during and since the 
election, but it should be a concern to every Canadian.

Here's why.

We must stop penalizing our citizens so harshly over an imagined 
offence while destroying their potential - anyone who thinks a drug 
addict should be jailed needs to be consistent and start advocating 
for the immediate incarceration of alcoholics as well, which of 
course is a completely preposterous proposition.

In the end, we only shoot ourselves in our collective foot with the 
huge costs of processing these individuals, not to mention the loss 
of potential tax revenue from someone who went from studying in post 
secondary to instead being thrown in the slammer. We'd be kidding 
ourselves to pretend such instances are not occurring on an all too 
frequent basis.

The main knee-jerk reaction against calls for the federal government 
to immediately decriminalize marijuana possession as it works towards 
regulated legalization is that the move would be akin to giving 
traffickers carte blanche to ramp up their business without fear of 

However, there is an ocean - a universe even - of difference between 
calling to stop arresting and charging citizens for mere possession 
rather than targeting more specifically those operating the black market trade.

The government is trying to find a way to best regulate the market 
safely and responsibly, so it's understandable that it is not about 
to consider allowing traffickers free rein, which is of course 
perfectly sensible. That being said, the Liberals should strive to 
take every possible measure to cease and desist the persecution of 
people over possession alone.

Granted, the new Liberal government is still barely one year into its 
term and has plenty of work yet cut out to live up to its many 
promises. It is certainly too early to start bemoaning broken 
promises on campaign pledges such as marijuana legalization, although 
that time could very well come at this rate.

But if for whatever reason the government is not prepared to enact 
temporary decriminalization for mere possession until it has finally 
come through with legalization, the Liberal Party had better stop 
dragging its feet and get ready to pardon all the Canadians whose 
lives it has ruined for no good reason at all.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom