OTTAWA - When Robert was 18, he was arrested by Montreal's police for
possession of a small amount of hashish, an event that would upend his
The charge brought him 30 days in jail, and the conviction ended his
part-time job as a translator.
"Back then, you smoke a joint, you would get arrested," said Robert,
who asked that only his first name be used because of the continuing
stigma of his criminal record. "Then the cops would put you in a car,
then pull over and give you a couple of shots in the head. You get
slapped around just because of smoking."
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43.5 per cent of study participants who used marijuana as a substitute
for alcohol decreased the frequency of their drinking.
Authorized medical marijuana patients who began using cannabis to help
reduce their drinking report experiencing a reduction or even
discontinuation of alcohol use, notes new research out of the
University of Victoria.
The finding reflects feedback from 2,102 patients registered with
Tilray, a medical cannabis research and production company in Canada.
The input was received as part of the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey
2019, which gathered details on patient demographics, patterns of weed
use and self-reported use of prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco and
illicit drugs before and after starting medical cannabis.
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In July, the Canadian province of British Columbia experienced its
fifth straight month with more than 100 overdose deaths - and its
third above 170 lives lost.
Globally, the World Health Organization reports approximately 500,000
deaths from drugs, over 70 percent of them tied to opioids. In Canada,
from January 2016 through December 2019, more than 15,000 people died
from apparent opioid-related causes. In 2019 alone, there were over
21,000 "suspected opioid-related overdoses" across nine provinces and
territories, excluding Quebec (for which data wasn't provided). The
opioid crisis clearly persists at home and abroad.
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Like myself, I suspect many citizens of Lethbridge were alarmed by the
finding of misappropriated funds within ARCHES, and the subsequent
withdrawal of provincial funding to their supervised consumption site
(SCS). As an RN who has worked for a number of years in harm
reduction, I am reeling for our clients and their families in terms of
how this will impact them.
One thing is clear - the inappropriate management of funds within one
agency does not refute decades of empirical research behind the
effectiveness of harm-reduction interventions in mitigating
drug-related health and social issues. This financial audit was not
intended to evaluate the effectiveness of harm-reduction services
provided to people who use drugs. To conflate findings of financial
mismanagement with lack of effectiveness in harm reduction would only
further exacerbate drug-related health issues.
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A recent poll suggests 51 per cent of British Columbians are buying
all product legally
B.C. has had a difficult road to getting cannabis users interested in
purchasing from legal retailers over their neighbourhood dealer, but a
recent poll suggests that the province may finally be winning the
battle over bud.
A Research Co. poll released earlier this month found that 51 per cent
of B.C. respondents who have consumed cannabis in the past six months
have bought all of their products from licensed retailers. That's an
18-point increase from a similar survey conducted in October 2019.
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If the idea of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of illicit
drugs once sounded radical, the coalition of people who now espouse
the idea would certainly seem to be strange bedfellows.
On July 9, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police called on the
federal government to decriminalize possession of small amounts of
illicit drugs; B.C. Premier John Horgan asked Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau to do the same in a Jul. 20 letter. Benjamin Perrin, the top
criminal justice adviser in Stephen Harper's "tough-on-crime"
administration, recently wrote a book in support of decriminalization,
and major publications, including The Globe and Mail, have published
editorials urging the same.
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Listen to the police
Let's talk about decriminalizing all drugs
We're having a national conversation about policing and criminal
justice. Examining our drug laws is a natural extension of this debate
More than nine years ago, writing about the war on drugs, this
editorial board encouraged the government of then-prime minister
Stephen Harper to get bolder with decriminalizing cannabis.
"By any reasonably broad metric," we wrote then, the war on drugs "has
been an abysmal failure. According to estimates by the UN - by no
means a liberal organization when it comes to drug policy - worldwide
consumption of opiates rose 34.5 per cent from 1998 to 2008, cocaine
by 27 per cent, and cannabis by 8.5 per cent. In achieving that abject
failure, tens of thousands of people have been killed."
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