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Harper's Misguided War on Pot

Respect

New Member
We are glad to see the Conservative government using the excess lifespan donated by Her Majesty's Opposition to get tough on crime. But was it really necessary to include victimless acts among the list of crimes being targeted?

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's new package of mandatory sentences for marijuana dealers, announced on Tuesday, seems to involve some perverse incentives. Under the bill, a grower who is caught with between one and 200 plants and is found to have the intention of trafficking will receive a non-negotiable minimum of six months in prison, unless he can show that he is eligible for judicially ordered treatment under the auspices of a drug court. The maximum penalty for having a few pot plants on the premises will be increased to 14 years.

Certainly, this will discourage some small-time growers from dealing marijuana, since only a fraction of them now receive jail terms for a first offence. But it's equally certain that it will encourage others to reason that they might as well go to prison for 199 plants as for five.

The government of British Columbia, which is where the effect of the new sentencing guidelines is likely to hit hardest, doesn't think the province is going to transform overnight into a utopia of temperance. The provincial corrections department said on Wednesday that if Mr. Nicholson's guidelines are enacted, it will probably have to find room in its jails for about 700 more marijuana growers per year -- people who are currently punished with house arrest or a fine. And nobody is sure where these additional prisoners are going to be put, since 80% of provincial prisoners in B.C. are already double-bunked and the rest are either in protective custody or are too violent for a cellmate.

Of course, we would not want the lack of prison space in B.C. to override what was an otherwise worthwhile federal policy that contributed to the safety of our communities. Neither do we consider that a rise in overall incarceration rates would necessarily be a bad thing for Canada, even though liberal criminologists wring their hands over how those rates reflect on our international prestige. But as American "three strikes" laws have showed, mandatory sentences have an unfortunate tendency to call the administration of justice into disrepute when they are applied to non-violent criminals -- especially those peddling a relatively harmless substance that millions of peaceable Canadian adults experimented with in college, and might still use once in a while to relax on the weekend.

There are serious criminal problems to be tackled in this country -- such as those involving gangs and guns. Compared to these, marijuana is simply not on the risk radar screen. It is baffling that, at this point in history, any government in Ottawa would bring an American-style War on Drugs approach to Canada's small-scale marijuana growers.

Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Contact: letters@nationalpost.com
Website: National Post | Canadian News, Financial News And Opinion
 

AlisonMyrden

New Member
Mine was one of four published letters in one of our MAJOR Newspapers "The National Post" on Monday...Yippeee!!!

Love and a squish,


Alison
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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) "º Cops Say



Monday, November 26, 2007

Debating the war on pot

Published Letters
The National Post

Re: Justice Minister Responds, letter to the editor, Nov. 24.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson forgot to add a couple key words to his letter -- the war on drugs leads to more petty crime, more gang violence and more risk to law-enforcement officers, all of which makes our communities less safe. If Mr. Nicholson and company truly cared about these things, they would end the war on drugs instead of escalating it.

Bruce Korol, Calgary.

nationalpost

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I was very disappointed to read this editorial. When a newspaper with as much influence as yours prints an editorial like this, a child at school will use it to justify smoking pot. Marijuana is not a victimless crime.

Although Canada has much more resources per capita, why is our GDP per capita so much lower than the United States? I think our lax attitudes about marijuana are part of the problem. Being high, Canadians do not think about who they are voting for. As a result, we do not get the government we could. How much Quebec separatism and similar delusional ideas are fuelled by marijuana consumption?

Canada, get off the pot. There is a world out there.

John A. Matheson, Toronto.

nationalpost

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Many awe-inspiring kudos to the National Post for an outstanding editorial. I am a retired law enforcement officer and a legally licensed cannabis patient in Canada for the indication of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis and an excruciating pain in my face 24 hours a day associated with MS called Tic Douloureux.

Prime Minister Harper needs a big lesson in drug law reform and compassion. The more dangerous the drug, the more it needs to be off the streets and away from our children. Legalization and regulation of all drugs are the only answer. If we remove the penalties which only incarcerate and jail drug users, and instead offer them education and treatment and safe injection sites, we will see a dramatic decline in those who choose to imbibe and overdoses would become non-existent. This plan will work. Drugs are a health issue and should only be treated as such.

Legalize and regulate all drugs in order to keep our streets safe and our children from being in charge of these dangerous and deadly substances, and to keep our chronically and critically ill off of the streets in search of their medicine. All of our lives depend on it.


Alison Myrden, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Burlington, Ont.


nationalpost

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Re: Harper's Misguided War On Pot, editorial, Nov. 23.

As a federal medical marijuana exemptee whose permit to grow marijuana is jeopardized, I will probably be one of many very ill and dying Canadians heading to prison if Ottawa's new drug laws are passed. For those of us licensed to use cannabis to relieve pain and debilitating nausea, we have no option but to grow our own medicine because the costs of purchasing medical-quality cannabis are too high and not covered by any insurance.

The cost of purchasing the quantity of cannabis required by most licensed federal medical marijuana patients is in the area of $1,500 to $3,000 per month. For those on disability pensions, that is just not affordable. Keep in mind that medical use of cannabis involves not only smoking, but also vaporizing and mixing cannabis in cooking oils and butter to cook and bake with. The latter methods require large amounts of cannabis.

For sick and dying Canadians there will be no option but to continue to grow our life-extending medicine, whether or not Mr. Harper wants us to. That will fill prisons and for some, like myself, it will be akin to bringing the death penalty back to Canada.

E. Jolin, potential prisoner in Canada's new war on drugs, Pointe-Claire, Que.


nationalpost

Contact: letters@nationalpost.com
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