HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Our Tax Dollars Go Up In Smoke To Pay For
Pubdate: Wed, 06 Mar 2002
Source: Independent, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Conolly Publishing Ltd.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


The government agencies that are mandated to protect our health and safety 
go about their business in a paradoxical - and costly - fashion. Witness 
the recent information that marijuana seized by local police in October was 
destroyed by them in late January, despite the certain knowledge that three 
federal medical exemptees had filed motion to have it returned as their 
medicine - and despite the fact that the exemptees were told by a judge in 
early January that the marijuana could not be released, because it was 
needed as evidence.

Health Canada, under section 56 of the controlled Drugs and Substances Act, 
had given permission to these claimants, and other medically fragile 
people, to use marijuana to relieve their suffering. Ironically, the same 
federal department is the only agency that can authorize destruction of 
drugs seized under the authority of the Act. The government giveth, and the 
government taketh away. The report from the Auditor General of Canada for 
1999-2000 reveals how expensive government paradoxes - particularly in the 
realm of drug enforcement/drug awareness - can be. The RCMP spent $164 
million on drug enforcement and a mere $4 million on drug awareness 
programs, during that period.

After the Mounties got their men and women, the force spent an additional 
$40 million prosecuting offenders. Corrections Canada spent a further $169 
million on drug programs that fiscal year to rehabilitate convicted 
"druggies." The Federal Ministry of Justice reported an expenditure of $70 
million to prosecute people accused of drug crimes, including $14 million 
involving Young Offenders. Federal justice bureaucrats spent a mere $1 
million that year for prevention programs focusing on drug and alcohol 
abuse. Health Canada was barely active during that period, spending a total 
of $14 million on all federal drug programs, including the administration 
of Section56 Exemptions. At least that exceeded the $1 million given by the 
feds to all Canadian Institutes of Health for addiction research projects 
in 1999-2000. Clearly the mandate to seek and destroy drugs deemed to be 
illegal, and to prosecute and jail the offenders, receives far more 
government support than programs designed to educate and assist.

Health Canada gives. Police take away. Health Canada tells medical 
marijuana exemptees they may recover medicine seized by police, and then 
directs the same authorities to burn the weed. Perpetuating this expensive 
paradox helps neither sick people nor those charged with protecting society.
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