Monday, July 09, 2007

We're Number One!

Canada maybe lagging of late, when it comes to productivity and certain quality of life indicators, but when it comes to the reefer, Canada is the dude:
Canadians use marijuana at four times the world average, making Canada the leader of the industrialized world in cannabis consumption, a recent United Nations report found.

The 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. The world average is 3.8 per cent.

In light of this information, the failure to decriminalize marijuana looks all the more ridiculous. Canadian arrests for possession are skyrocketing:
The number of people arrested for smoking pot rose dramatically in several Canadian cities last year after the Conservatives took office and killed a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

The spike in arrests for simple possession of cannabis appears in data compiled by The Canadian Press from municipal police forces through interviews and Access to Information Act requests.

National statistics will be released next week, but preliminary figures suggest the number of arrests jumped by more than one-third in several Canadian cities.

Clearly, the war on marijuana has been a rousing success.


Scotian said...

What. A. Shock. NOT!!!

This was exactly what I expected to see happen when the CPC took over, especially once they killed the decriminalization bill for small amounts. It would appear that complying with the American "war on drugs" is more important than doing what a solid majority for the last many years to decades even of Canadians have wanted, that being marijuana decriminalized at the minimum (something like 2/3rds to 3/4) and full total legalization being just into the 50+% percentage range as I recall. This is clearly *NOT* the wish of Canadians, this is the wish of our American neighbours who have spent decades coercing us to keep marijuana illegal despite the clear and long standing/running wishes of a solid majority of the citizenry to the contrary.

Not to mention the attempts to dictate to medical users and their doctors that 5 grams a day is the maximum anyone should even need based not on medical parameters but an arbitrary figure decided by our CPC overlords. This is yet another example of how Harper and company are more concerned with their agenda than they are with the welfare of the average Canadian citizen or even the medical needs of those citizens. As I said at the start though, what a shock...not.

There is no decent reason for marijuana to be criminalized, indeed, I find it ridiculous that I can be given 300 mgs of concentrated morphine for pain daily but I cannot gain access to marijuana which does almost as good a job for me. What makes this truly egregious is that the long term effects and damages of the morphine are far Far FAR more serious and detrimental to the health of my body than any amount of marijuana. Yet the morphine I can get from my pharmacy and the marijuana I cannot. For no reason other than moralism and to placate the American government’s crusade on drugs, the one they have been losing steadily for a couple of decades now. Sad, isn't it.

Gayle said...

The police do not support legalizing mj, although they rarely actually charge someone for small amounts (at least not in Edmonton).

The real reason they want this one on the books is because finding someone in possession of mj allows them to search that person for evidence of other crimes.

In Alberta we have a law against minors being in possession of tobacco which can be abused in the same way.

Karen said...

Scotian: This is yet another example of how Harper and company are more concerned with their agenda than they are with the welfare of the average Canadian citizen or even the medical needs of those citizens

Indeed. They also show their ignorance on this matter, for all to see.

This kind of thing is flying under the radar though. It drives me mad!

Wake up Canada, you're going to in for a shock when you do!

Gayle: In Alberta we have a law against minors being in possession of tobacco which can be abused in the same way.

They are charged?

You're right, the police are not in support of legalising mj, but they were as I recall, in favour of decriminalising. There is a huge difference that seems to be missed too often.

Steve V said...

It would be nice if the Liberals came out in favor of outright legalization. It would be a bold move, but one that could be argued in a reasonable way. The notions of organized crime, taxation, legal gridlock, misplaced police resources. There would be resistence, but I'm not sure it would harm the Liberals politically, with their targeted demographics. That kind of advocacy would help give Dion some context, on an issue which is sure to generate discussion.

Anonymous said...

If they do legalize it should be at 19.... same as alcohol rather than 16 as has been suggested. It should also be taxed like alcohol.

Karen said...

While I agree with the position Steve, I do think it has the potential to harm the Lib's.

To take that position while in gov't, not a bad thing but, at this point, explaining the issue in the context of de-criminalising, (given the idiot counter-attack), I think would play better.

Dion would be painted as an NDP supporter. It would allow the right to paint the "scary left wing agenda", which they will portray as depraved. It gives the right a chance to lump Layton and Dion into one category...we don't need that.

I know you'd gain support among level-headed people and the young, but you'll isolate the old...and that is a big base and one that we need, especially now.

Steve V said...


That is the Conservative demographic, so the risk is minimal, particularly when you couple the potential pickup. All the polls I have read show Canadians are ready for this idea, if articulated properly. Just a thought.

Scotian said...


I tend to agree with Steve V on this, with the proviso that the explanation would have to be simply and clearly presented, otherwise it would leave too much room for twisting around into a weapon against them. Me, I have always thought it should be regulated like alcohol for recreational purposes, medicinal grade through pharmacies or other approved specific outlets for that purpose, and that would take care of most of the problems it creates and transferring the economic benefits from the shadow/criminal economy into public revenues.

This was something I remember discussing with my former RCMP family member (the one I described to you the other day) when I was in jr high and even then they agreed that prohibition was a failure and cost more than it was worth in this case. They had seen first hand what the American prohibition spawned since early in their career they were involved in chasing down and busting rum runners. I will never understand why this is treated so poorly, I mean there is not one record of lethal overdose from clean marijuana that I have ever been able to confirm from a credible source in all my years, and you can't say that about many drugs of all kinds. Hells, aspirin kills a few every year!


While I can understand the position of the police as you described it, that is not sufficient reason to keep this illegal, unless we are willing to surrender far more of our freedoms and our rights to determine our own society as we want it to what the police (aka enforcers) want, which even when done to what is initially a benign police force inevitably slides into the corruption of authoritarianism. Even then, I have known far too many cops in my life from municipal to RCMP that have thought this was a waste of time and resources and that it would be better overall to simply legalize/decriminalize it and worry about the real dangerous drugs instead.

Karen said...

Steve and Scotian, I absolutely agree on the generic point...I'm just not so sure that most Canadians are up for that.

Steve, I know what you are saying about the con demographic, but I can tell you, my Dad, life long Lib, at 75, would not understand the platform.

I just don't think we can afford to lose those votes...though in my Dad's case, he'd never vote for Harper, no matter what the Lib's put out there.

I just don't think you can dismiss how the Harp's would play this, (pun intended).

I cannot see it coming out in a good way. Sometimes the right thing, needs to be tempered with the right time.

Steve V said...

"Sometimes the right thing, needs to be tempered with the right time.'

And, that might explain why the Liberals took the baby step approach. I wonder if that is a make or break issue with people? One of the interesting parts of the study, that showed us tops in pot usage, was that it showed no corresponding elevated levels of hard drug use, which serves as another repudiation of the gateway mythology.

Gayle said...


Please do not misunderstand, I do not support the notion of keeping this law, I was just giving my opinion on why the police support it (which I should not have stated in such absolute terms since it is my opinion, but it is the only conclusion I can come to since I deal with a number of youths who have been found in possession of mj but never charged).

My personal opinion is that all drugs should be legalized. I know that is radical, but the real threat to our safety are the criminal organizations that survive on the drug trade. The decrease in violence would be huge.

Right now there are huge costs related to policing trafficking. It is quite frustrating when you see that at least some of those costs go to such undercover operations as where drug addicted prostitutes are targetted as drug dealers (police pose as johns, ask the prostitute to get them drugs and when she facilitates, they arrest her). Prostitutes are probably the very lowest level of drug dealer - these sting operations simply victimize them more.

KNB - it is illegal in Alberta for anyone under the age of 18 to possess tobacco in a public place. What this really does is criminalize the homeless kids who also happen to be addicted to cigarettes.

Anonymous said...

There has to be a balance.

The Liberals need to tolerate pot use while making sure that potheads must not be getting stoned in the park benches.

Therefore, pot smoking in public must be considered a summary offence. The same as enforcing smoking by-laws in public.

I am in favour of restricting pot use to public houses such as cannabis cafes, as in the Netherlands. The goal has to be in lowering pot consumption and taking a zero tolerance attitude towards grow-ops.

BTW, what should Dion's policy towards magic mushrooms be ;)