Ottawa stays one toke behind the times

Ottawa stays one toke behind the times

It may be old-fashioned paternalism or 21st{+-}century Conservative ideology. Either way, it’s clear our federal government is not on the same page as most Canadians when it comes to our marijuana laws. While the rest of us seem to be leaning toward relaxing laws around marijuana, the federal government maintains a tough stance on weed. A week ago, Forum Research polled 1,849 randomly selected people over the phone. Sixty-five per cent of those polled want to see our pot laws loosened; they favour either decriminalizing small amounts or legalizing and taxing marijuana. Only 17 per cent believe the current pot laws should remain and 15 per cent favour tougher laws. A recent British Columbia report from Angus Reid pollsters indicated about 75 per cent support for decriminalizing marijuana use among adults. Earlier this month, voters in Washington state and Colorado voted in favour of decriminalizing pot. A large part of the marijuana issue is economic. A recent study in B.C. estimated pot purchases in that province total about half a billion dollars every year. Data from Washington state, referenced in the B.C. study, suggested that if the state regulated the marijuana sector, it would bring in as much as $2.5 billion in taxes over a five-year period. One school of thought suggests pot should be viewed in the same way we view alcohol and tobacco, both of which are strictly regulated and highly taxed. Despite concerns over addiction and health issues, governments are themselves addicted to the vast pools of tax revenue generated by drinking and smoking. There is, too, a law-and-order argument to be made when it comes to the question of legalizing marijuana. One less illicit substance means, in theory at least, one less stressor in the underground drug trade and one less reason for rival gangs to attack each other. These premises, though, have no traction with the federal government. Instead, Stephen Harper’s government has been increasing the harshness of the justice system’s response to marijuana, increasing maximum prison time and imposing mandatory jail terms for growing six or more marijuana plants. Is the government considering legalizing small amounts of pot for personal use? Not that we can see. Is nabbing, convicting and punishing casual tokers — clogging the courts in doing so — the best use of our overburdened law enforcement system? Apparently the federal government believes so, although we would suggest police resources across the country would be better deployed against serious, broadly harmful criminal activity. Will the federal government catch up with most Canadians on this issue? We really hope so.Source:–ottawa-stays-one-toke-behind-the-times

No Comments

Post A Comment

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Email *