HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Harper Government
Pubdate: Thu, 01 Sep 2011
Source: Columbia Journal (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Columbia Journal


At the end of July Statistics Canada released their annual crime
statistics for Canada, revealing a startling increase in the number of
simple marijuana possession arrests. Over 58,000 Canadians were
arrested last year for simple marijuana possession, up an astounding
14% over the previous year, and comprising over 54% of all drug
arrests in Canada.

"What we are seeing is a coordinated effort led by the Conservative
government to crack down on simple marijuana possession as part of a
multi-billion dollar increase in the war on drugs. At a time when
almost every country in the world is recognizing the total and abject
failure of the war on drugs, this Conservative government is
increasing spending by billions of dollars" said Kirk Tousaw,
Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation. "Mr. Harper
continues to talk about how government spending needs to be reduced,
and how we can't afford social programs, yet he is pouring billions
into the failed drug war. Why? Why did 58,000 Canadians need to be
arrested over a plant that more Canadians want legalized than voted
for Conservative candidates? Why is Mr. Harper spending billions to
arrest Canadians for simple marijuana possession?"

In addition to the crackdown on simple marijuana possession, the
Conservative government has recently proposed unprecedented
restrictions to the medical marijuana program. The proposals include
the removal of personal and designated production, patient
identification, and forcing patients to purchase from government
selected, commercial suppliers via the mail. Medical marijuana
advocates across the country have been united in their opposition to
these changes.

"It's become clear what this government's priorities are. A crackdown
on simple marijuana possession, mandatory minimum sentences for
growing even one marijuana plant, and a dismantling of the medical
marijuana program. This is nothing less than a total war on marijuana"
said Jacob Hunter, Policy Director of the Beyond Prohibition
Foundation. "Patients in this country can not afford the low quality
and highly expensive commercially produced marijuana, indeed, only 22%
of patients purchase from the government now. When combined with
mandatory minimum sentences for a single plant, patients will be
forced to choose between going without medicine, forgoing food or
shelter to purchase it, or risk spending months in jail for producing
it themselves. This is an absolute affront to Canadian's charter
rights, and an unthinkably brutal attack on sick and suffering people."

Statistics Canada crime data:

Beyond Prohibition Foundation 814-207 West Hastings, Vancouver BC V6B 1H7
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